What do you bring to a party? Well, if it’s the first day since April with a high of below 70*F, and if you’ve recently picked up a new red wine and a new brandy to try… then the choice is verily made for you.
Also, I really didn’t want to swing by the grocery store on my way home from work.
This was super easy. I’d picked up a boxed (!!!) wine on sale at HEB the other day, after doing some research on what if any brands of boxed wines are legit. I’d really like to support any decent quality boxed wines since it’s way better environmentally-speaking, glass being heavy and fragile and thus less than ideal to ship. Anyway, CalNaturale came up in my search and it was on sale, so, yes, into my basket it went. It was decent to drink on its own, nothing special, though not completely undrinkable. Still, it was vastly helped by the addition of orange and cinnamon and brandy.
The only issue with this was that I’d run out of cheesecloth, so I tried to strain the mulled wine through a coffee filter. Which worked okay at first, but for whatever reason (physics or something, I’m sure) ground to a dripping halt about half-way through. I kept stirring and it kept slowly straining, but ugh, next time, I’ve got to just get me some cheesecloth.*
This is dangerously drinkable and quite tasty. I’ve made it twice in a week. What I’m saying is go.for.it.
*The second time I made this I was at a friend’s house. She had two mesh strainers, so we just used both of them at the same time. Worked nearly as well as the coffee filters, and took seconds instead of minutes. So, maybe do that instead, if you can.
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 3 cardamom pods
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cups (1 bottle, or most of a 1 L box) red wine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup apple brandy
- 1 orange
Using the bottom of a heavy pot, apply pressure to the cardamom pods one at a time, until they crack open enough to see the seeds inside.
Place the bruised cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, wine, sugar, and brandy into a medium-large pot.
Using a microplane, zest the orange over the pot so that all of the zest and as much of the orange oil as possible gets into the pot.
Once zested, cut the orange in half. Place a strainer over the pot to catch any seeds, and squeeze the juice of the orange into the pot. Remove the strainer and give it all a good stir.
Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir lazily for 1-2 minutes, or until sugar has dissolved.
Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low. Let mixture just barely simmer for about 30 minutes.
Strain mixture into a bowl using a cheesecloth- or coffee-filter-lined strainer. Gently stir mixture in strainer if it appears to be straining slowly.
Funnel your mulled wine into the rum bottle you occasionally use as a rolling pin. Wrap in a towel and transport in the box the rum came in. What, that’s a thing, right? It’s easier to transport in the little carrying box!
Or, if you happened to have a Thermos, that’d be infinitely easier for transport.
Wishing you sub-70*F weather and a mug full of this stuff, Kaki!