by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Sunday, December 15, 2013
Mandarin Spice Mulled Wine
Warmth enveloped you at every turn. Magical scents wafting from the oven. A crockpot in the corner with spiced steam escaping. A candle on the corner table scented for the season. As a kid, I really looked forward to the familiarity and tradition that this time of year invoked.
As an adult, I still look forward to it, but it's not quite the same. We now have four generations running around. My grandparents are now in their mid to late 80's; it's not as easy for them to host everybody any more. And unfortunately, none of us have the same fantastic home that they have. A home large enough for everybody to fit. Comfortably.
Fortunately, tradition can be carried with us, no matter where we happen to be. I hope that when my kids look back, the thing that they remember most about the holiday season is warmth enveloping them at every turn. I hope that magical scents wafting from the oven make them smile. I hope that the steam escaping from a crockpot on the counter comforts them. I hope that a sugar cookie scented candle makes them feel safe.
But now that I'm the adult, I get it. After handing the kids their steaming mugs of rich chocolate, I love turning around and picking up my own steaming mug of mulled wine. This version uses white wine, a sweet and lightly citrusy Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato, and is infused with warming spices and the flavor of mandarin oranges. It's perfect for warming up the adults who have trudged through the snow and freezing temps, towing kids, gifts, and potluck dishes during the holiday season.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle Gallo Family Vineyard Moscato
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 2 mandarin oranges
- 4 Mandarin Spice Herbal Tea bags
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a few allspice berries
- a few whole cloves
- fresh nutmeg*
This could be made by putting everything into the crock of a slow cooker and setting on low for 4 hours, then holding on warm.
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.