One thing I’ve noticed here is that the length of the days changes dramatically with the seasons. In midsummer it starts getting light at about 4:15 in the morning (don’t ask how I know), while right now it’s well on its way to being dark at 4:15 pm. It’s been a relatively mild slide towards winter this year – first snow last weekend – but all the same, this time of year calls for a little help from the spirits.
When I was growing up, we usually had a pot of spiced cider on the stove on chilly December days, simmering away and filling the house with a sweet aroma that always fills me with holiday anticipation. Valerian’s family adheres to the mulled wine tradition that is carried on at Christmas fairs around Europe. But let me be honest. I don’t really like the taste of wine. And when I learned that the mulled wine recipe includes plenty of added sugar, I realized that we could combine our two family traditions with delicious results, if I do say so myself.
Here is our suggestion for a cold-weather drink, ready for you to customize and make it your own. Let us know what your favorite winter warmer is!
Spiced Wine with Cider
I used an inexpensive red wine here, but in fact it is equally common to see white warmed and spiced here. I do like the color the red wine gives, myself. Look for wines that are sweet rather than dry in any case.
For 4 people
- 2 cups wine (see note above)
- 2 cups apple juice or cider
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 5 cloves
- 2 allspice berries
- 5-6 slivers orange or lemon peel
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Warm over low heat for 15 minutes; can be kept warm for 1-1.5 hours (although the alcohol will mostly boil off, if it matters to you).