We are just finishing the tail end of a massive storm here on the Big Island and the rainy weather has us cozied up inside with this family favorite!
This is a great recipe to enjoy this evening, or, even better, tomorrow night (if you don’t finish it all tonight!). You can use apple juice or cran-apple juice instead of the cider, but if you can find cider, I recommend it. It adds a rich depth of flavor. This is another perfect recipe for a gathering since you can make it ahead of time. I think you will truly enjoy the way the vanilla notes will soften any bitter edges and make this a new favorite!
- Mulling spices (or make your own with 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 3 green cardamom pods, and 12 whole cloves)
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine)
- 4 Cups cider or apple juice
- 1/4 Cup vanilla honey (if you have it, if not, regular honey will suffice)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with the seeds scraped
- Juice and zest of one orange
- * Extra cinnamon sticks for a nice garnish
To make your own mulling spices: In a heavy bottom sauce pot, heat cinnamon, star anise, cardamom pods, and cloves over medium heat until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir continuously to ensure spices do not burn.
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a serving pitcher. Pour into mugs to serve and add a cinnamon stick as a garnish. You can also save this in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Enjoy responsibly and preferably with good Christmas tunes in the background.