No Need to Mull Over Spiced Wines!
Being kind of a wine geek, I tend not to stray away from some of my favorite styles of wine since it took me years to discover them. I do love those dry red and white wines that pair so well with good food. But I have to add that I do have my adventurous side and I have let myself fall into the magic of enjoying some wonderful seasonal spiced wines over recent years! Spiced wine has an alias known as mulled wine or as the Germans call it “Gluhwein” (pronounced “Glue Vine”). If you have never experienced a hot spiced Gluhwein, then you could be in for a real treat! It is normally a red wine with added spices that is drank hot (in a coffee mug) but it can be enjoyed room temperature or chilled if that is your preference. Because it is made from wine, it is an alcoholic drink but there are some non-alcoholic versions out there too.
Gluhwein is a traditional drink of the Germans to celebrate Christmas but is also drank all through autumn and winter. I love a hot spiced wine when the weather turns cooler and I am always drinking it as the Halloween trick-or-treaters are making their rounds. From then on, I am hooked and I have the wine and all the mulling spices ready for when I am in the mood for a hot, spiced treat near Thanksgiving, Christmas, and those cold winter days! Some of the spices used when mulling wine are cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange coriander, and ginger. You can also add rum and/or brandy to add to the mischief. And I love the aroma of the spiced wine as it heats up on my stove and it makes my whole house smell so festive!
Many of the local wineries will have their own version of Gluhwein inside their tasting rooms when the weather turns cool. The wineries use one of their softer red wines, add the spices, and heat it up for your enjoyment. Burnley Vineyards in Barboursville has a wine called “Spicy Rivanna” which you can buy by the bottle. It already has the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg included so you only need to get home and heat it up! Williamsburg Winery has a bottled spiced wine and Democracy Vineyards has a wine called “Campaign” and they recommend to drink it using mulling spices.
Many northern states couldn’t do without their spiced wines since weather there tends to be colder longer. Believe me, I know! My Michigan roots had me trying all sorts of spiced wines through fall and winter and I do have a few favorites. You could walk into any grocery store in Michigan and you would always find stacks of Leelanau Cellars Witches Brew spiced wine….a definite cinnamon spice winner! Michigan apples and cherries? Yes please! Pentamere Winery in Tecumseh has a Baked Apple Spiced Wine that is just Heavenly. Traverse Bay Winery is going ‘cherries’ with their amazing Spiced Cherry Wine! And Black Star Farms Winery in Traverse City says to use their cherry or pear wine and this recipe to make the perfect hot spiced wine: https://www.michiganwines.com/spiced-wine
So how do you make hot spiced wine the easy way at home? Most local stores and wineries sell “Mulling Spice Bags” which is filled with all the spices you need for the perfect hot spiced wine! You only need to find an inexpensive fruity red wine (or try a white wine), heat it in a pot on your stove, add the mulling spice bag, and let it simmer on low for about 20 to 30 minutes. Do not let the wine boil! And voila! You are sipping and celebrating in the traditional German style!
For those of you who like to cook from scratch, here are two recipes that are easy, fun, and are sure to relax your mind and soul:
There is not much to “mull” over here so enjoy the upcoming holidays and season with some hot spiced wine to warm the toes and bring family and good friends together. Cheers!