Week 50 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Glühwein and Glögg.
Wow, week 50! Just two more adventures to go and the year is done. That was fast…
This time of year, when the weather turns cold, a lovely way to warm up from the inside is with a mulled wine, warmed, fortified and flavored with spices. Many a holiday shopper in the Christmas markets of Europe, especially Germany, may enjoy a cup of cheer as they battle the chill. In the United States, most mulled wines are a half hearted imitation of the glühwein (glow wine) ladled out in the open air huts of the markets. That’s what happens when a nation is founded by a bunch of tee-totaling Puritans…
A traditional mulled wine done right includes a base red wine, cinnamon, sugar, spices like anise and clove, a dash of citrus –either orange or lemon– and for even more fortification, a shot of brandy or rum. The Scandinavian version of glühwein is called glögg and differs from the German mulled wine in that it uses port as a base and is fortified with akvavit or vodka rather than brandy or rum. Other additions may include raisins and almonds. I decided to experiment and make my own glühwein.
I started with an inexpensive domestic merlot -so much other flavor will be added, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on the wine. Then I tried two variations: one with the cognac, the other with the Kill Devil Hills Rum I brought back from the Outer Banks this fall. I figured the pecan and honey would make a nice flavor addition to the glühwein. (I was right!) Since the candied ginger had sugar and the rum had honey, I didn’t add any extra sweetening to that cup.
Here is the way I made mine: in a small saucepan, I heated six ounces of the wine with a shot of the rum, tossed in three slices of the ginger, a thick slice of lemon, dash of ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Do not boil! You will evaporate the alcohol and what fun is that? In the cognac variation, I added a spoonful of dark brown sugar to the mix. I used my tea strainer when I poured the glow wine into the cup. Both of these variations were delicious and fortifying, indeed.
Now, if we would just get some snow. The Mid-Atlantic region is missing out on all the fun. Wow, Lula, only two more adventures left. Where did the time go?