Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year!!

I don't know about you, but our 2014 is off to a VERY chilly start. However, school kids all over Northern Illinois (and much of Wisconsin, from what I can gather) are pretty excited to have at least one extra day added on to their winter breaks... Many schools have already been called off for tomorrow because of the crazy, subzero temps...

If you happen to be in any region that'll be hit with these Arctic blasts, please stay warm! And, while champagne is traditional at this time of the season, now that New Year's Eve is gone, maybe consider switching to some hot mulled wine or cider?!

Here are the basics:

While red wine and apple cider are the most traditional of the spiced winter warmers, you can also use cranberry juice, white wine, hard cider, or ale. All of these beverages take very nicely to mulling--which is simply adding spices to them and warming them up.
  • The primary spice combinations for mulled wine or cider almost always include cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.
  •  Nutmeg, mace, star anise, allspice berries, cardamom pods, slices of fresh ginger, orange slices and lemon zest are also good additions.
  • To infuse without making the drink cloudy and gritty, use whole spices rather than ground.

How to Mull

Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer over low heat.
  • Don't let it boil: this can cause spices to turn bitter.
  • To really allow the flavors of the spices to infuse into the beverage, you should allow the mixture to simmer on the stovetop for at least half an hour.

It's fine to keep the pot warm for several hours, allowing everyone to sip holiday cheer throughout the night: a slow cooker on low heat is ideal. Ladle into mugs and serve, garnished with an orange slice or cinnamon stick.

Enjoy!! And best wishes to you all for a fabulous year ahead. xox  :)


Edie Ramer said...

It's 15 below here right now. Shiver. Times like this we really appreciate our furnace.

The hot mulled wine sounds lovely. I do have hot chocolate - in a can, lol. I'll probably make a mug of that today.

Marilyn Brant said...

Hot chocolate sounds absolutely awesome right about now!! It was so cold here yesterday that one of our water pipes froze and then burst. We were *really* fortunate that, aside from fixing the broken pipe, there was no other damage...but, boy, is it COLD!!!!!
Hugs to you -- stay warm! xo