Sip on the Flavors and Aromas of European Christmas Markets
Glögg in the Nordic regions, glühwein in Germany, weihnachtspunsch in Austria. Wherever your Christmas spirit roams this Thirsty Thursday, traditional mulled wine will keep you warm and feeling festive. Beyond the rich and spicy sweet flavor, the aromas will fill your home and kitchen with the scent of the seasonal markets found along Europe’s rivers. Mulled wine is essentially the wine lover’s version of a hot toddy, traditionally made with red wine, brandy, citrus and various spices. The concoction lends itself beautifully to experimentation with your favorite ingredients and flavors.
So, we’re offering some guidelines, rather than one specific recipe, to create your perfect version of wintertime mulled wine.
First, choose a dry, fruit-forward red wine, as vintages with delicate notes will be overpowered by the brandy and spices. Cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo and grenache are wonderful choices. A full batch of mulled wine begins with a full bottle of red wine, which can be sweetened by either honey or sugar (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup). Next, oranges. One or two, peeled into ribbons and juiced – you’ll want at least 1/4 cup or orange juice.
In a stovetop pan, combine the orange juice and the strips of peel with one cup of wine and the sweetener of your choice. Now, the spices. In this beverage, the spices are everything and include 6-12 whole cloves or allspice berries; 2-4 whole cinnamon sticks; 3 star anise; and 2-3 tablespoons of ground or fresh ginger. Add your preferred medley of spices to the pan and stir until combined. Add the remaining wine and 1/4-1/2 cup of brandy and simmer on low heat until the mixture reaches approximately 170 degrees F.
For a truly authentic feel, serve hot in a colorfully decorated mug garnished with more of your favorites – cinnamon, orange zest – whatever warms your spirit.
We’re delighted to raise a glass of mulled wine to our Crystal Family this year and look ahead to more explorations in the New Year. Cheers!
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