Beer and Wine Jelly

Sometimes, patient’s don’t understand what isn’t allowed in the hospital.

Back in med school, I was on the medicine inpatient wards. In medicine, you always have some patients who have been in the hospital for a while. And those patients sometimes are allowed to have a bit more freedoms just because they’re essentially living in the hospital.

My particular patient had been in the hospital for quite a few weeks. He was an overall fairly healthy guy, except for what was keeping him in the hospital. He also loved his sports. And something else with those sports.

I was on call one day, and had to walk into his room later on to see how he was doing now that we had changed around some of his medications.

And there, neatly lined up in the window, was a row of 4 bottles. With beer labels.

Me: Excuse me, sir, but are those yours?

Patient: Yup, the wife took pity on me and brought us something to drink during the baseball game.

Me: Sir, you realize you can’t drink in the hospital, right?

Patient: Good thing I had the wife hide the other two!

And no, alcohol is not one of the freedoms he was allowed.

Hospital Appropriate Spiced Wine Jelly

wine jelly

since alcohol is allowed in hospitals in jelly form


  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 1/4 c whit e sugar
  • 1 packet liquid pectin
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Bring a water bath canner with lids and jars (this makes about 3.5 C jelly, so plan accordingly) to a boil.
  2. In a small saucepan, measure out 1 1/4 c wine and pour in. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15-25 minutes, or until reduced to 1/3 c liquid. Remove from heat.
  3. In a separate, larger pot, pour in the rest of the wine and add in the sugar. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often.
  4. When larger pot has come to a boil, add pectin and lemon juice. Bring back to a hard boil (once you cannot stir down) and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Strain in reduced wine in order to remove the spices.
  6. Ladle jelly into jars leaving 1/4 in at the top for room. Wipe rims clean, then place on lids with rings. Process for 5 minutes (adjust for altitude- please comment for times).
  7. Remove jars from water bath and let set (don’t touch them!) for 12-24 hours. Store for up to one year (one month in the fridge).

Titanic and French Onion Soup

I think it’s a trait of all dads to have the ability to make their daughters feel awkward.

Titanic was one of the biggest movies back when I was middle school. I wasn’t allowed to see it until after we read a play version of the entire movie in my 7th grade class…so I already knew most of the details of the movie. My parents then finally let me borrow the movie on VHS from our neighbors (it belonged to their 8 year old daughter). However, I wasn’t allowed to watch it alone. Since it wasn’t really my mom’s sort of movie, my father was assigned to watch it with me.

That’s right…I had to watch Titanic, the love story of my generation, with my dad. And that wasn’t the half of it.

When it reached the point where Jack draws Rose naked…

Dad: Hey honey…you should probably leave the room now.

Me: Can’t you just fast forward it?

Dad: Then how would I summarize what happens?

He didn’t have to summarize, as I just stood outside the room and could hear the entire scene. I was allowed to return, only to have it be the car incident.

Dad: Okay honey, back out.

Me: Da-ad. I’m almost 13. The NEIGHBOR’S 8 year old daughter owns this movie.

Dad: Your mother said you’re not allowed to watch it, so out.

Me: But you don’t see anything in this scene besides a hand!

Dad: OUT!

After another brief interlude of listening to the movie from outside the room, I was then allowed to watch the rest of the movie…by myself (my dad said the “movie was too long”). I eventually was allowed to watch the ENTIRE movie six months later, but only after I turned 13. (And I, again, had to borrow the movie from my neighbor’s still 8-year-old daughter.)

For Adults Only Drunken French Onion Soup

be sure to use a whiskey you like!!


  • 3 lbs onions
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 c whiskey (see substitution below)
  • 1/4 c sherry
  • 1/4 c worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 4 c beef or vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c skim milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • French bread
  • Beer Jelly (optional)
  • Gruyère cheese, shredded


  1. Finely slice onions. Coat bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil, then add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until onions are golden and caramelized (this might take longer than 30 minutes).
  2. Add whiskey and sherry. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then add in worchestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, broth, and garlic. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for an additional 15 minutes to let the flavors develop. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If you prefer your French Onion Soup with a thinner broth, stop here. If you like yours creamier (like me), stir in 1 tbsp cornstarch into 1 c skim milk, then stir into soup. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes (don’t bring it back to a boil or it might scald!).
  4. To serve, ladle into an oven-safe bowl. Spread beer jelly onto french bread, place on top of soup, and then top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Place under broiler (I actually did this in my toaster oven) until cheese melts.

Note: If you want to make a non-alcoholic version, substitute whiskey and sherry with additional broth.