If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you may have seen this picture before.
It was taken inside a coffee shop high up on Mt. Titlis, part of the Swiss Alps overlooking the village of Engelberg.
Anyone who takes the tram up the mountain during the fall or winter months would be wise to stop for a glass of mulled wine. Not only does it help melt the icicles that may have formed on any uncovered part of your body… but it also tastes good!
Mulled wine is a beverage to be sipped and savored. Unlike hot chocolate, which is easy to consume quickly, leaving you wanting for more, mulled wine is perfect for enjoying over a good conversation.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to trek to Switzerland to enjoy this wonderful cool- and cold-weather treat. And if you do a lot of cooking and baking at home, as most of us have done this year if not before, you may already have all of the ingredients on hand.
Grab a bottle of Merlot or a lighter-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, and pour it into Dutch oven. Add four cups of apple cider and a quarter cup of brandy.
In a saucepan, place a handful of cloves, cardamom pods, star anise and black peppercorn, and then add a few cinnamon sticks. On your stove’s low to medium setting, warm them up until they’re heated through. (Your nose will tell you when it’s ready.)
Next, wrap the mixture in cheesecloth and place it in the wine mixture, along with a 1-inch-wide slice of orange peel.
Cover the Dutch oven and allow the concoction to warm at a low temperature. Do not allow it to boil. A slow simmer brings the best results.
It normally takes about 15 minutes for all of the flavors to meld. At that point, remove the spice bundle and serve the mulled wine in mugs.
Then toast your good fortune that you’re indoors and warm… and about to get a little warmer.