Cold, rain, winter, Christmas …it is the season of comfort and warmth. I do not think there is anyone who would say no to a glass of warm, spiced red wine. A drink full of soothing scents and flavors, from spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or star anise, complemented by some orange peels or apple. And for those who do not drink alcohol, you can enjoy the mulling spices with your tea, or hot chocolate.
This spice blend is also a beautiful handmade Christmas gift for your loved ones. After preparing it, put it in a jar or in a box and offer it. It is a different gift, made with love by your hands. You can also offer a bottle of red wine and neck tie a canvas bag filled with 2 tablespoons of spice mixture, 1 star anise, and 1 cinnamon stick. Or, simply improvise!
Regarding the fruit used in our mix, there are two ways to use them. The most time consuming, is to dehydrate the peels of orange in the oven. Remove the peel from the orange, taking care to have the least possible from the bitter white pith. Cut the peel into very thin stripes and dried in the oven, at 120° C/ 250o F, for about 30 minutes, or as needed to dry and begin to curl. That way, you can add them to the mixture with the spices and keep it for some time. If the peel of an orange is fresh, then your mixture should be consumed quickly.
The second way is to add pieces of fruit in the glass with the wine or tea, as I do myself in the photograph. I cut slices of apple, I did a cut with cookie cutters to remove the central part that you have to throw away and add it to the glass with a cinnamon stick. Instead of apple, you can use ¼ of an orange slice. Or you can use both; whatever you feel like. It is something like winter sangria!!
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Servings: yields 1 ¾ cup of mulling spices (enough for mulling 12 bottles of wine)
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole nutmegs
- ¼ cup green cardamom pods
- ¼ cup allspice berries
- ¼ cup whole cloves
- 1/3 cup dried orange peels
- 12 star anise
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 vanilla pods
- cinnamon sticks (for serving)
- Put the 8 cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and cardamom in a plastic bag and close it well. Using something heavy, a pestle for instance, break them into small pieces.
- Put the pieces in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. If using vanilla (I did not), chase the pod with a knife and with the tip of the knife remove the seeds and add them to the spices mixture. Mix well.
- Keep the mixture in an airtight jar.
For the mulled wine you will need:
- 1 bottle (750ml) red wine
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices
- 1/3 cup sugar or other sweetener (optional)
- In a saucepan, add all ingredients and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the wine and serve hot with cinnamon sticks and if you want fresh fruit.
As for your hot drink, prepare it as usual, adding 1 tablespoon of the spice mix, let stand for 5-7 minutes and drain before serving.
I hope you have a lot of warmth and relaxing evenings with this spiced wine!!