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Spiced mulled wine or cider
This is my friend Shannon’s famous mulled wine. She recommends using a dry red wine over a fruity variety, and feels the flavours really pop when some of the wine is reduced to a syrupy consistency, a tip she learned from Jamie Oliver. Feel free to replace the wine with apple cider for a non-alcoholic version of the same drink.
- 1 navel orange
- one 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece lemon peel (for mulled wine only)
- one 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece lime peel (for mulled wine only)
- 6–8 whole cloves
- 3–4 small (or 2 large broken) cinnamon sticks
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 2–3 whole star anise
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 cup (250 mL) sugar (1 1/2 cups [375 mL] if using 3 bottles of wine)
- two or three 25 oz (750 mL) bottles red wine
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) orange-flavoured liqueur or even brandy (for mulled wine only)
- cinnamon sticks and orange slices, for garnish
- Peel and juice the orange.
- In a large pot, combine the citrus peels, the juice of the orange, all of the spices and the sugar.
- Set the mixture over medium heat and give it a few stirs, lightly toasting the ingredients to release some of the flavours.
- Add 1 cup (250 mL) of wine and stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved; add a little more wine, if needed.
- Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, letting it bubble for 5 minutes, or until it becomes thick and syrupy.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rest of the wine.
- Stir and heat until warmed through. Add the liqueur, if using, and mix well.
- Turn off the heat and strain into glass tumblers.
- Serve with a cinnamon stick and orange slice.
- Party Pointer Both variations of this recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Gently rewarm just before serving.