To say I love wine would be an understatement. Let's just start there. All summer long, I typically stick to white wine, not because I prefer it over red, but because it's cool and refreshing on hot days, here in the south. And yes, I do prefer red over white, but saving red wine for the fall and winter months, makes it seem extra special.
So here we are, it's the middle of October and all anyone is talking about is pumpkin this and pumpkin that. I have fallen victim to it as well, having just purchased some pumpkin pie coffee creamer. Don't tell anyone. It's also about all-things that are warm and cozy, and there's nothing that fits that description more, than this Harvest Mulled Wine.
Did you know that spiced, warmed wine dates back to 1st century, Rome? I know! Mulling wine is simply infusing spices and citrus with red wine. There are a million recipes, with a million different combinations. Some call for a Merlot, some call for a Pinot Noir, some use apples, some use oranges, you get the idea. I decided on a Cabernet Sauvignon. But it's really up to you. I chose the 14 Hands Cab because it's nice and smooth and blends really well with the spices.
You've probably figured out that I not only love a good recipe, but I love things that come beautifully presented. So of course - I obsessed over what glasses I wanted to serve this warm and cozy treat in. Many people use stemless wine glasses but I wanted something with a little more character. I literally went out this morning and found these Irish Coffee Mugs at Bed Bath and Beyond. I wasn't sure how they would work but the orange slices and cinnamon sticks fit perfectly and they look beautiful on this vintage silver tray, I found on Etsy.
Recipe below, enjoy! - Jonathan
Makes 6 cups
- 1 bottle 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/4 cup E & J Brandy
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 oranges, sliced for garnish
- 10 cinnamon sticks (4 for recipe, 6 for garnish)
- 1 vanilla bean cut in half, lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 10 star anise (4 for recipe, 6 extra for garnish-optional)
- In a large sauce pan on medium/high heat, bring the wine, brandy, cider and honey to a low to moderate boil.
- Reduce heat and add 4 cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cloves and star anise and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and ladle in to mugs.
- Cut a small slit in each orange slice, between the center and edge and slide a cinnamon stick through to garnish.
Note: I cut my cinnamon sticks so they were the length of the glass. This helped to keep the orange slice from sliding all the way down in to my wine. While taste is everything, presentation is a very close 2nd!