Monday, December 7, 2009

Drinks That Warm My Heart

I was over at My Melange reading about 5 drinks you must try in France, and I heartily concurred with 4 of them.  We had a citron presse last night and it's one of the most refreshing drinks I know of.  Cafe au Lait is the best drink in the a.m., paired with some carbs (toast, croissant, brioche, etc.).  I mentioned in my comment on her post that I first had a Kir Royale when in Victoria at The Empress having tea with my Aunt Karol.  It was amazing, and I recently found some creme de cassis to make these at home (because you know we love bubbly in this house!).  I can also attest to adding cassis to Strongbow cider, my friend Nancy had it when we were at a pub one night, and both G and I thought it was pretty damn good.  And the last one was really good hot chocolate, which is made by melting chocolate down.  We went by a recipe in The French Kitchen, and it got a wee bit too thick before we could drink it all (but boy did we try!).  

And I thought it was time to share with you my favorite drink for this time of year:  Mulled Wine.  We first had it when we had Christmas tea at the tea room in England.  It was a new thing and they were giving us glasses to go with our meal (they hadn't yet got their liquor license, so while they could give it away, it couldn't be part of what we paid for).  Hot, nearly burned our fingers when we first picked up the glasses.  But out of this world amazing, and G has been craving it lately.  So perhaps it's time to make some tomorrow night as part of our night (I have no clue what's going on, G is up to something).  

Anyways, after having it again at the tea room, I asked Jacqui the owner for the recipe.  She quickly laid it out for me, and it is super simple.  And adjustable, so feel free to play around with it.                                                                                                   
Mulled Wine
  • A bottle of red wine (we usually use a Bordeaux, make sure it's something you can drink, but not expensive)                                                            
  • An orange slice (circle, not wedge)                                                                          
  • Cloves                                                                                                       
  • Orange juice 
The best way I've found to put the cloves in the orange slice, is to put the cloves in a loop around the circumference of the orange before cutting the circle.  If you try and put cloves in an already cut slice, it gets very messy.  Be sure to put plenty of cloves, as you want it to flavor the wine.  

In a saucepan over med-low heat heat the bottle of wine with about 1-2 cups of pulp free orange juice (to taste), and the slice of orange with the cloves.  Normally we choose the lots of pulp juice, but it doesn't work for this.  The best is to squeeze fresh oranges, but anything not from concentrate tastes great! (Simply Orange or Florida's Natural)
You want this hot, but not boiling.  Be sure to taste a bit as you go along to make sure your juice to wine ratio is good.  We usually only do half a bottle at a time, saving the rest for a meal, so it's kind of to taste.  

Pour in normal wine glasses, you will want the stems to keep from burning your fingers!  Let cool enough to not burn and drink away!

This is the recipe from the tea room.  Obviously you can play with it, maybe add some cinnamon.  I would caution you not to use a whole cinnamon stick if you go that route, since they are strong and can easily overwhelm the other flavors.  Some nutmeg might also be nice, freshly ground.  

If you try it, please let me know how it turned out!