This post marks Day 4 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.
Ever open up a bottle of wine and then wish you hadn't bought it? It's not corked or anything. It's just... not your thing.
The Germans have a thrifty and practical solution for this in the form of glühwein, which you might also know as Norwegian glögg or simply mulled wine.
In fact, most wine-drinking cultures have some kind of mulled wine tradition, so I don't wonder whether this recipe started with the need to do something with unsatisfactory vino.
If you don't have an unappealing bottle of wine to use up, you can simply use an inexpensive one. You'll be adding sweetener and so many other flavors, you shouldn't really notice the wine's flaws.
Though red wine is usually used, it's not out of line to spice white wine in the same way.
There's as many recipes as families, I'd imagine, but I like the following variation.
Holiday Glühwein (Serves 4-6)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp grated lemon or orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 allspice berries
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)
1 750ml bottle red wine
Lemon or orange juice (optional, to taste)
1. Bring the water, honey, citrus zest, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and vanilla (if using) to a boil in a saucepan.
2. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep 30 minutes, before straining out the spices. Pour the bottle of wine into the spiced liquid and heat to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, adjust flavor with a little lemon or orange juice and a little extra honey (to taste). Serve hot in mugs.
In Nordic countries the local glögg is drunk during the Christmas season with sweets such as gingerbread that are served with blue cheese.
Num! I may very well try the same some bone-chilling afternoon this month.
A holiday toast to you and yours!