Cocktail: Mulled Wine
Mulled Wine is a popular holiday drink all over the world. Called gluhvein in Germany, svařák in the Czech Republic, glögg in Sweden, bisschopswijn in the Netherlands... and hundreds of other names! The concept is similar, and easy to make! Here's what you need:
Wine (2 bottles)
I think Garancha is the best for mulled wine, with a fruity and light flavor. Merlot is also wonderful...
or if you want something a bit spicy, Tempranillo also works.
Slices of orange are the classic way to add a tangy note to the drink
A splash (tbsp) of Grand mariner is also elegant
Or triple sec can also be a good citrus substitute
The central spice of the drink comes from the cinnamon. Whole cinnamon sticks (6-10) are a great way to do this, and can be used as garnish.
Powered cinnamon also works (2-4 tsp).
You can really play with the spices to your taste.
Star anise and cloves are a must! If you can find them whole (5-6), that is best, but again powered works too (2-4 tsp). Some people like nutmeg or ginger as well (although I'm not crazy about it)
Because some of the alcohol will boil out in the process, you may want to add a little back in
1 cup of sweet vermouth is common.
Brandy also works well.
How to make it
Mix all of the ingredients in a pot
Heat over medium heat. You don't want it to boil, but you do want it to get hot.
Once it is steaming, lower the heat and allow it to simmer for approx 20 minutes.
I taste it a few times as it simmers and adjust the spices. Sometimes the cinnamon over powers the wine, or the citrus is too strong. (Having a third bottle of wine to add more wine flavor if necessary can be helpful, not to add the whole thing, but a splash or two along the way might be necessary.)
If you're adding extra alcohol, you can add it at anytime. The later you do so, the more boozy flavor you will retain.
I use a ladle and strainer to serve it in mugs. The strainer catches the spices.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick or an orange slice.