The first time I had mulled wine was after skiing to the bottom of a mountain in Austria. Holding that cup of spiced warmth in my freezing hands and letting the steam thaw my wind-frozen face is one of my perfect little memories. Maybe it was the picturesque setting in the Alps, or maybe it was my excitement that I was only fourteen and able to drink wine in a public establishment because I was in Europe, but I'll never forget it.
Mulled wine is a hot wine-based German beverage [they call it Glühwein, prounounced like GLUE-vine]. If the idea of heated wine sounds weird to you, don't let it turn you off. It is Christmasy and comforting and warms you to the tips of your toes. It's also really easy, great for a crowd and makes your house smell amazing.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends and filled with overindulgence, board games, and lots of laughter. Merry Christmas!
peel of 1 orange
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 oz brandy
[optional - replaces some of the alcohol that evaporates as the wine heats]
1/4-1/3 cup sugar [to taste]
1.5 liter bottle of full bodied red wine
[cabernet or merlot works the best]
1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Heat until just simmering, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat to keep wine just under a simmer. Heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Ladle into mugs and serve.