Glühwein Getting the Holidays Started

gluhwein

 

With the weather getting cooler and the holidays quickly approaching, it’s nice to set time aside to enjoy each other’s company.  Here in Boston,  Beacon Hill celebrates with carolers, Santa and prosecco.   Stores open their doors and offer drinks and discounts. Nothing like a little bubbly to convince you that is a FABULOUS gold lame shirt. True story.

Making my way down Charles Street, popped into Charles Street Liquors to find a little glühwein, a sweet, warm, German holiday drink.  I was transported back to the magical  Christmas markets in Berlin and Dresden.  Immediately, I wanted a doughy pretzel dunked in grainy mustard.  If you can’t get to Germany, check out Chicago’s tradition of Christkindlmarket.

If you’re hosting, try making some German warm sangria:

Glühwein

via SF Gate
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.
Makes 8 servings

1 750 ml bottle dry, full-bodied red wine
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup agave nectar (see Note)
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece star anise
1 orange or large tangerine
1 Meyer lemon, Seville orange, blood orange or other tart citrus (optional)
10 whole cloves, plus more for additional citrus

Instructions: Place the spices, agave nectar and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cut the citrus in half. Squeeze into the pot. Stud the outside of the citrus with cloves, add to pot and simmer for another 20-25 minutes, until it thickens.

Pour in the wine. Be careful not to let the mixture boil. Serve in warm mugs. If you’re planning to leave the mixture on the stove, you may want to remove the clove-studded citrus pieces.

Note: I find agave nectar brings a subtler sweetness and lets the other flavors stand out. If you prefer, substitute with 2/3 cup sugar per bottle of wine — more to taste if you’re using the extra pieces of citrus.

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