December 10, 2008

how to warm up on a snowy night

To me, cold weather means soup, boots, skiing, and hot drinks. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate? All just fine. But at this time of year hot mulled wine (also known as glögg, glühwein, or vin chaud) is just the thing. I don't drink so much (hello, my name is Kim and I am a notorious lightweight) and, as a general rule, I really dislike overly sweet alcoholic drinks -- but there is something about cozily spiced, warm, sweet red wine that is so, so nice. Especially if there are actual (!) snow (!) flurries (!) outside (!!!).

And it's so easy. You make an infused syrup using the sugar, citrus peels, and spices, then add a bottle of wine and glug of triple sec. Heat through. Seriously, that is all. I don't know about you, but I have all of those things on hand all the time.

And I think the German term, glühwein, is the best name. As my funny co-worker put it this morning: "Glühwein means 'glowing.' It doesn't glow but, after drinking it, you will!"

Hot mulled wine
adapted from Jamie Oliver


This recipe is very forgiving: you can use almost any combination of spices in your wine, and if you don't have orange liqueur you could use brandy or rum. There's also no need to use any expensive wine -- we use a $3 bottle from Whole Foods and it is perfect.

1 bottle dry red wine
3/4 cup sugar
2 clementines
1 small orange
1 lime
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, smashed
whole nutmeg, grated 6-10 times on a rasp grater
5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Cointreau

Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel large sections from the peel of the clementines, orange, and lime. Add sugar, citrus peel, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf and the juice from the clementines and the orange to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil until syrupy and thick, 1-2 minutes. (If the sugar sticks to the pan too much, add in a dribble of red wine to make it syrupy again.) When the syrup is ready, turn the heat to low and add the wine and orange liqueur. Heat through, 5 minutes or so, without bringing to a boil (the alcohol will burn off).

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