Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, apple and orange are all the classic scents and tastes of fall. Add to that candy, costumes, candy, pranks, candy, scary scenes, oh, did I mention CANDY – and you have the most wonderful time of the year for many kids and adults alike. I know the older I get, the more I love Halloween. And with the explosion of ghoulish and magical DIY projects available today, I am in crafting and seasonal decorating heaven!
So whether you plan to stay in and give out candy to trick-o-treaters, are accompanying them on their quest, or are partaking in the festivities yourself – how about sipping some warm mulled wine or cider along the way?
Mulled wine is as old as ancient Rome, and as modern as the creative combination of sweet spices you’d like to add. Much like a classic dish, there are as many recipes as there are households that make it. Here are some of the basics:
Makes approximately six 8 oz. cups.
1 bottle Dry Red Wine – inexpensive, but still flavorful
2 cups Apple Cider (Note: if you want a non-alcoholic version, just omit the wine and, add 4 more cups of cider.)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
A combination of 2 of the following whole spices, including but not limited to:
whole cloves, allspice, nutmeg (cracked into pieces with a mallet), star anise, cardamom, fresh ginger root (peeled – cut into large chunks), -- 1T of whole spice per 1 recipe
Zest, and/or slices of orange, tangerine, clementine, etc. – with rind (Be sure to leave some aside for garnishing each mug.)
- Place all ingredients into a large stockpot and place over low heat. Heat until just bubbling around the edges, then lower to lowest setting to let spices steep. The longer you leave the spices in the liquid, the more pronounced the flavor will be.
- You can serve the mulled wine right out of the pot, or strain out the spices, place in a crockpot or coffee thermos and serve with cinnamon sticks and citrus rounds as garnish. A delicious treat with this seasonal beverage is a shortbread or biscotti cookie for dunking.
This mulled wine would go perfectly with the soups we are making in The Chopping Block's upcoming Autumn Soups and Stews class at Lincoln Square on Sunday, November 29. Here's the menu:
- Crab and Shrimp Gumbo
- Farro Soup with Greens, Beans and Roasted Garlic
- French Onion Soup with Toasted Gruyere Cheese Crouton
- Moroccan Chicken Stew with Olives and Ginger
Join us for this class full of hearty, seasonal recipes.