Whether you’re hosting a party in the comfort of Your home or you’re planning a party at a local establishment, fill the air with the scents of sugar and spice with a soul-warming blend of mulled wine. Wrap your mitts around goblets and fill them with a bit of holiday cheer.
SUGAR AND SPICE, EASY AND NICE
Depending on which recipe you find, there are a variety of mulling spices, wine, liquor, juice and garnishes to create the perfect winter cordial. Basic mulling spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. You can purchase a pre-made mulling spice mixture at Post Town Winery. Bonita Patton, co-owner, says, “We have a basic mixture of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon and orange for sale at the winery for $3.95. We also sell mugs of mulled wine through the winter months using our First Embrace and Prairie Cougar red wines.”
An inexpensive, fuller-bodied red wine is used most often, but white wine or hard cider can be used as well. The best white wines to use are sweet; try a Moscato or Riesling. Adding brandy, port or spiced rum adds a little zing to your sip. Remember to simmer low and slow. Don’t let the mixture boil, it burns off the alcohol, and you’ll end up with a bitter tasting cocktail.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds
- 1/4 cup brandy (optional)
- 1/4 cup honey or sugar
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
Optional Garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise
Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm in wine mugs, goblets or vintage stemware with your desired garnishes.
A good hostess thinks of everything, including appropriate stemware or mugs. Depending on your gathering and your guests, wine mugs or wine glasses can be used.
Celebrate your love of Minnesota with a stemless wine glass with ghosted white print of the state as a gift to family and friends across the state or country. At the University of Minnesota’s bookstore, you can purchase a delicate wine glass with an etched “M” repeating logo in a satin frost imprint. Or add to your own collection of stemless wineglasses printed with a crisp Minnesota Vikings graphic.
If you’re looking for fun and fancy stemware for any type of celebration, Ashley’s Hallmark by Target Northwest has the largest selection. Visit them for the Lolita collection of hand-painted, special occasion wine glasses, including holiday, bridal, birthday and bachelorette party wine glasses. Maybe you’re a diva, turning 21 or retiring. With more than 30 different themes to choose from, you’ll be able to find the perfect vessel to sip your wine.
If you’re more sophisticated, celebrate in style with crystal, vintage or etched stemware from TaDa Consignment Shop located on Second Street SW in Rochester. Cindy Rofling says, “We have a large variety of stemware that rotates often. I have brand new glasses, a selection from Pier 1, vintage, red- and green- stemmed glasses and Marquis by Waterford wine glasses. Each glass ranges from sets of two, four, six or eight.”
Local wineries, gift and consignment shops and department stores sell a variety of wine glasses and goblets. Have fun searching for the perfect gift for your hot beverage or wine-lover friends. Do invite them over for cup of mulled wine and glass or mug exchange this holiday season too.
Nicole L. Czarnomski is a freelance writer looking forward to making her own concoction of mulled wine.