We are now starting to feel the spirit of Christmas as the weather gets nippy. Wine has already been mulled and consumed, twice over, all in the name of Christmas planning and recipes. 3 elaborate cakes have brought in a new found confidence with regards to icing, so this year our fruit cakes will be all 'pretty'! We were supposed to do the tree this weekend, yes last week of November, but it got too busy, so now we have a mid week plan for that chore. I am making chocolate fudge, rum balls, peanut butter cups, fruit cake and chocolate coated strawberries this year and mulling rum and wine. The new recipe I developed comes out of this lovely fortified Port we get here, its called the Nashik Port and at Rs. 300 a bottle its a super steal. For most wine lovers, its a bit too sweet, which is where citrus as a flavour comes in. The coolest part of this recipe is that once the wine is over, you just need to top up the bottle with more wine or rum, cognac and even brandy, really depends on what you like to enjoy as an aperitif during this season!
Choose a nice bottle for this, you can stick with the wine bottle but only if it's glass. Also I really do believe that coloured glass affects the maturation process at some level, so I chose a faux antique collectible in a deep red. Wash and dry the bottle, sun it for sterilization and make sure it is bone dry when you fill it.
1 bottle Port Wine
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2" piece of dried ginger
2 tbsp honey
1/2 an orange cut into small cubes, small enough to go through the neck of the bottle you choose, not teensy bits though, keep the rind and all.
Use a small pan or kadhai/wok that has a heavy bottom and melt the honey on a very low flame, add the whole spices and cook for 2 minutes or so, don't let the honey char, put off the fire if you need to and let it cook in the residual heat of the vessel. In a separate pan, decant the wine and put on a very low flame, add the honey/spice mix and stir well, cook for few minutes, covered. Remove and cool. Put the orange bits in the bottle you will be storing the wine in, top up with completely cooled mulled wine. Cork and keep in a cool place for a day. Taste it the next day to test potency, it is least potent right now, it gets stronger each day, so I suggest you refrigerate and consume within 3 days, else the orange and ginger can get overpowering. You can use this mulling mix for up to 4 times, as long as you are regularly consuming from it. The addition of fruit allows pathogens to grow, so this is a beverage that needs to keep moving or being used, like any good wine, you wouldn't want it to become vinegar over time. Enjoy and Season's Greetings!
*If you want to use a dry red wine instead of Port, you can half the quantity of the orange and replace with canned peaches, cut into bits, its such an interesting flavour, I loved it!