Solstice has come and winter is officially here. Chilly temps, endless rain, sunlight reflecting off of snow so bright it makes you squint, early darkness, snowfall after snowfall until you can’t stand another, and the smokey, subdued musky smells all winter’s own. Wherever your corner of the world, whatever your winter is, it comes every year and so we may as well embrace it. Even on a freezing NY day I try to give it the same gusto as my grandfather, “ah, the great Northeast!”
The season urges us to seek out comforting lights and ways to warm ourselves from the inside out. This is where one of my favorite winter sips, mulled wine, comes in handy. Like most things made in and served from a pot, mulled wine is so fun to share with friends! Perfect for a holiday party or a lazy weekend pajama day. Get it going on the stove, turn the heat down low, and just let it mull, becoming more and more delicious with time.
Start with the basic ingredients. Improvise from there according to your tastes and serving needs. Here’s how I do what I do:
A True Potpourri
In a big pot combine these ingredients (or any others that you believe will achieve something similarly rustic and fruity). Let them get to know one another for about a half hour.
- a bottle or two of red wine (something simple and inexpensive, a great use for that Beaujolais nouveau still hanging around from Thanksgiving)
- a few orange and lemon slices
- about one cinnamon stick per bottle of wine
- nutmeg and cloves
- sage and thyme
- honey to suit your sweet tooth’s desire
- a shot or two of whisky (Bulleit Bourbon is good for mixing) or rum (Sailor Jerry has the perfect sweet and subtle spiciness).