Savoring a Quiet Moment & Raising a Glass to Friendship and Good Company: Soul-Warming, Spicy Mulled Wine…

November 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Mulled Wine and a Thanksgiving Toast to Friendship

The last few days and hours before a holiday are always a busy time. With all of the necessary preparations —shopping and cooking, packing and travel— it’s easy to lose sight of the more important aspects of our gathering amid all the hustle and bustle. Sometimes it can be helpful to remember that many hands make light the work; free up yourself, so that others may enjoy your company. A perfect pumpkin souffle is no match for a sweet kiss. Savor a few quiet moments with those you love, for those are the times we all remember most.

Do you know someone working a bit to hard, trying to please everyone but him or herself? Perhaps they might benefit from a back rub and a soul-warming serving of mulled wine beside the fire. Sit those worker bees down, pull off their shoes and hand them a glass. The napkin-ring polishing and guest-bedroom primping can wait. Time always speeds up around the holidays, and it’s up to us to pull the emergency break and slow it all down. Grab someone’s hand and take a walk through the forest or a stroll through the local park or garden. Tell a story. Share a secret. Give something of yourself to keep forever…

I love a glass of warm, mulled wine on a cold autumn evening. Last year I posted a recipe for mulling spices —which can be used for regular or spiked apple cider, and for mulled wine as well— but I have another, extra-special recipe I call ‘Mulled Autumn Wine’. This concoction is a little headier and takes a wee-bit more time prepare than the one I previously posted. Of course, I think it’s worth the wait. So if you know someone —or a group of someones— you’d like to spoil over the holidays, this might just do the trick. Feel free to tweak away at the ingredients – everyone seems to have their own special twist…

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Soul-Warming Mulled Wine for the Holidays

Mulled Autumn Wine

Ingredients for Mulled Wine: (serves 8)

1            Bottle of good, dry red wine (750ml)

1 2/3     Ounces of good quality brandy

1 2/3     Ounces of Grand Marnier

1            Teaspoon superfine sugar

3            Teaspoons of honey (plus or minus to taste)

2            Ounces of fresh squeezed orange juice

2            Ounces of fresh squeezed lemon juice (Meyer if possible)

1/2         Orange, sliced into wheels

Mulling Spices:

1            Cheesecloth spice bag

2            Teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

1            Cinnamon stick, broken in half

4            Cloves (approximatey)

3            Cardamon pods, split open

3            Star anise

2            Bay leaves

Garnish: (for 8 glasses)

1            Lemon, sliced

24          Cloves

8            Cinnamon sticks

Directions:

Crack open cardamon pods and muddle lightly. Add all spices to a cheesecloth sack and toss in a large pot. Pour in the wine, brandy and Grand Marnier. Stir in the orange slices and the juices, and cover. Let the mixture sit for approximately 3 hours. About an hour an a half before you are ready to serve, remove the orange slices with a slotted spoon and bring the mixture to a very, very low simmer. Add the honey and sugar and stir to dissolve. Continue simmering for a total of an hour an a half (be careful to never let the wine overheat or boil).

In meantime, slice the lemon crosswise into 8 wheels. Stud each lemon wheel with a few cloves and garnish the individual glasses with a lemon wheel and cinnamon stick.

Remove the wine from the stove and pull out the spice sack with a slotted spoon.

Carefully divide the wine between the 8 glasses and serve warm.

Happy Thanksgiving… Cheers!

***

Article and photos are ⓒ Michaela at TGE

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Grey and Chilly? Got the Autumn Blues? Spice Up Your Afternoon with Hot Mulled Apple Cider, Or Spike It Up Come Evening If You Choose …

November 12th, 2009 § 4 comments § permalink

A cup of hot, mulled apple cider, garnished with a stick of cinnamon and a slice of orange, studded with fragrant clove…

It’s the middle of November now, and there’s a sharp nip in the air by late afternoon. The sky is often streaked with slate colored clouds, and the sun, when it makes an appearance, slips away early on the western horizon. Naked trees shiver in the wind as I huddle inside my downy jacket, tending to late autumn chores in the garden. I can feel Winter’s icy breath as she whispers, “prepare“…

Well, hold back solemn Winter – I am still scrambling to get things done. The firewood is only half stacked and the Secret Garden still needs mulching. I have orchards to plan and stumps to pull and ditches to clear in the driveway. Hold back stark friend, there are still Autumn moments to savor. There are wild berry branches to gather and pine cones to pick up. The late auburn beauty of November still paints the forest, and bonfires warm our chilly toes as we gaze upon inky skies filled with stars…

Pause now. Revel in the pleasures of this season before we rush to the next.

Yesterday, I stole a quiet moment with Autumn on the back terrace. As I sipped my spicy, mulled cider and savored the warm patch of sunlight, I knew I must share the recipe with all of you here. Simmer a cup or a pot of apple cider on the stove and breathe in the fragrance. Steep rich mulling spices in your drink and enjoy the aroma of the season. Come night-fall, the rum-spiked version of this classic recipe makes for a memorable evening beside a crackling wood stove…

Slow down for a spell and drink up the last drops of Autumn while you can…

mulling spices ingredients and cider in sun horizontalMulling Spices and Heirloom Apple Cider from Scott Farm, Vermont…

Hot Mulled Cider

And Mulling Spice Recipe for Mulled Wine or Hot Spiked Cider

(makes sachets for 4 big, spicy mugs, or 1 large bag for a 1/2 gallon of cider. Divide evenly for single servings, or multiply evenly for larger gatherings)

8 whole cardamon pods, split open

8 whole cloves, (plus extra for orange-garnish)

8 whole cinnamon sticks, (plus more for garnishing each cup)

4 teaspoons freshly ground allspice

4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg

4 teaspoons fresh grated orange peel

1 orange, cut into slices for garnish

4 muslin or cheesecloth bags for 4 large mugs or 1 large bag for 1 quart pot of cider

1/2 gallon of fresh heirloom apple cider, (I bought mine from local Scott Farm)

Crack open cardamon pods and and muddle lightly with the back of a wooden spoon or pestle. Place all spices in a large muslin or cheesecloth bag, or evenly divide all spices into four bags.* Tie the bag tightly and toss into a large pot with 1/2 gallon of fresh cider. For single servings, use a small sauce pot. Turn on the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Simmer on low – DO NOT BOIL. In the meantime, create one orange slice garnish per serving, (or to float in serving bowl), by imbedding several cloves in each slice. Place extra cinnamon sticks, (one per serving), in each cup. Remove mulled cider from heat and extract the spice sack. Pour cider into cups or bowl and garnish with orange/clove slices. Serve hot.

*This recipe is a heady mix. For a more subtle blend, increase cider ratio or reduce spice quantities to taste. I like a lot of spice in my life…

Hot Spiked Cider

After simmering the 1/2 gallon of cider and spices for 15 minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of golden Puerto Rican rum to the pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes and continue to prepare as above.

Mulled Red Wine

This is also an excellent spice recipe for mulled red wine. Choose an inexpensive, dry red wine, (such as a Cabernet Sauvignon). Ratio should be approximately the same: 1/2 gallon of wine per bag of mulling spices.

Cheers!

Mulle Cider cinnamon stick, cardamon, cloves

Mulled Cider grated orange peel

Mulled Cider spice sack filled and tied

Photography and Text ⓒ 2009, Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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