One of my favorite memories of the famous Christmas markets in Germany is the mulled wine stands. Whenever I got too cold, I would just sidle up to the closest stand and order some glühwein served in a festive mug designed just for that year. After a few sips of this hot brew of spices, sugar, citrus, wine, and booze, I’d be revitalized enough to push on through the cold weather. This sweet-smelling punch recipe is great for fireside sipping and can be kept warm in a slow cooker to serve at your next holiday party.
Special equipment: You’ll need cheesecloth and butcher’s twine for this recipe.
2 medium lemons
2 medium oranges
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cupswater
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Beaujolais Nouveau
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons and oranges in wide strips, avoiding the white pith; place the zest in a large saucepan. Juice the lemons and oranges and add the juice to the pan.
Place the cloves and cardamom in a small piece of cheesecloth, tie it tightly with butcher’s twine, and add the bundle to the saucepan.
Add the sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks, place the pan over high heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes.
Add the red wine and brandy, stir to combine, and bring just to a simmer (don’t let it boil). Remove from the heat and remove and discard the spice bundle before serving.