Someone recently asked me what my favorite part of the Holiday Season was and my automatic response was “the smells!”. I love the smell of my Christmas tree, and I love the smell of my overpriced Anthropologie Christmas candles, and I really really love the smell of mulled wine. If you have never heard of it, don’t let the name scare you, it has nothing to do with mold. It’s basically hot wine with a little fruit juice and lots of delicious winter spices. In other words, it is one of the most wonderful things in the world. Just be careful not to let it reach a full boil or you will boil off all the alcohol and that would be horrifically tragic.
Serves 12 (allegedly, more like 4 if you’re one of my friends)
- 20 whole cloves
- 2 tangerines, clementines, or small oranges
- 2 750-ml bottles of Merlot
- 3 cups fresh apple cider
- 8 apples, chopped (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks plus 12 for garnish (garnish optional)
- 2 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 2 cups tawny Port
1. Slice the oranges or tangerines in half and pierce them with the pointed end of the cloves (5 cloves in each orange half)
2. Place the oranges, wine, apple cider, chopped apples (if using), 2 cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods in a large pot. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat; cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off the heat, stir in the port, and pour into mugs. Garnish with apples and cinnamon sticks.
Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine