Quintessentially Christmas

This time last year Washington, DC was blanketed with over a foot of snow.  Activities ground to a halt, and following the usual grocery rush, residents hunkered down.  Outside the city was quiet and cold; yet inside was warm and cozy, thanks to a little stovetop experiment with wine, liqueur, and spices.  A short while later I had produced some tasty mulled wine and a new Christmas tradition.

You don’t need a snow storm or a winter holiday to make and enjoy your own mulled wine, but it helps.  With DC’s temperatures hovering at the freezing mark through this weekend, whipping up batch of the warming and spiced beverage is a perfect indoor pastime.

How does one “mull” wine?  Surely this requires expensive equipment and a sommelier’s knowledge of wine.  Fortunately not – mulled wine is possibly the easiest drink to make.  Recipes are flexible and general in nature, exemplifying my drinking philosophy of simplicity and fun.  And there’s no better way to make room in your bar for a few potential Christmas gifts.

Has company visited recently?  Mulled wine is an excellent way to use those gift bottles.  Now is not the time to find your most expensive bottle.  Remember, your creation is unique because it suits your tastes; the type of wine, liqueur additions, amount and number of spices, it’s all up to you.

Ingredients for basic mulled wine are a bottle or two of red wine, some water, orange or lemon zest, sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple slices, raisins, or almonds.  Adventurous drinkers can include a splash of port, sherry, brandy, Lillet, or Grand Marnier – whatever you like.  Taste while you mix and add what you think tastes good.

So go to your wine rack or liquor cabinet and see what you can find.  Combine your choices and heat, but don’t boil.  An easier solution: use a crock pot instead.  It will warm your concoction and fill with the house with a wonderful winter fragrance.  It also makes serving a snap.

A mug of mulled wine keeps your hands warm.  Look outside and cross your fingers for the next big snow storm.  Just be sure to put your cup down first.

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 12:10 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. Is the honey bear on the table a Billy Bee or Sue Bee?

    • I don’t know, I’ll check under its tail.

  2. This year’s batch was especially delicious. Can’t wait to have it again next Christmas!

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