Countdown to Christmas – Mulled Wine Recipe

By Heather Toner

Early on in our relationship, I went to visit the Boy in England over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I had my first taste of mulled wine.  It was from a street vendor at Covent Garden, just outside the Royal Opera house, and he was selling it alongside roasted chestnuts.  
Between the cold weather, the festive atmosphere and the delicious winter warmer – that scene couldn’t be any more Christmasy, so I wanted to recreate just a piece of it by making my own Mulled Wine.  This would make a wonderful treat on Christmas Eve, and it’s a great alternative to eggnog.  Here’s how to make a batch yourself…
Ingredients

– 1 bottle of bold red wine (grenache or syrah works best)
– Pinch of cloves
– 10 to 12 cardamom pods
– 2 cinnamon sticks (plus extras for garnishing)
– 2 star anise
– 1 tablespoon of natural demerara sugar
– 1 orange 
– 2 table spoons of ginger preserves
– 1 stalk of lemongrass

Directions
First collect the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise and lemon grass on a clean piece of cheese cloth.  Pound the spices to release their flavors.  Roll, fold and secure by tying up tight with twine – making a little spice satchel.  
Pour your wine into a pan and begin heating very low on the stove.  Add the spice satchel to let the flavors infuse.  
Next, peel some orange zest, twist and add to the pan.  Cut the orange into quarters and add that to the wine as well.
Finally add the sugar and ginger preserves to the mix, stir and continue to heat for another 5 minutes.  
Take off the heat and serve in tea cups, with a cinnamon stick to garnish.  

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