It snowed in New York this weekend! Finally! After a freak October snowstorm, we’ve had nothing but strings of 50+ degree days alternating with bitterly cold, bleak ones. Disconcerting and frustrating. How can it be winter in the Northeast without those brilliant snowy days that justify baking and braising?
‘Twas a lovely morning for a walk, to the Greenmarket to drop off our compost (new year’s resolution, cheers to GrowNYC for making it so easy!)…
…and to savor the snow…
(It wasn’t really snowy enough to warrant closings, but it was nice to see how our neighborhood is neighborhoody enough for closings, anyways. No bread at our favorite spot, Grande Avenue Monuments, which sells pillowy baguettes and satisfying olive ciabatta alongside, yes, gravestones.)
In from the cold, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the very late arrival of winter than with glühwein, that mulled red wine ubiquitous in Europe in winter months, drunk by the mugfuls under twinkle lights at outdoor holiday markets. Like so:
It’s a warming, glowing kind of thing, just as its name – literally, glow wine – suggests it will be. And especially warming for snowy evenings in drafty, fireplace-less apartments in Brooklyn.
We picked up a glühwein spice mix from our favorite tea shop in Gröbenzell when we were in Munich in December. It looks like this:
But you don’t need a mix to make glühwein. Start with a bottle of wine. (It doesn’t have to be spectacular, but let’s be honest – as with sangria, if you start with really bad wine, you’ll end up with really bad glühwein), pull together your favorite mulling spices in your preferred amounts, adjust the sweetener and sweetness, add a bit of liquid that’s not wine (say, water, or juice), and then simmer. Simmer long enough to fill the house with the comforting scent of spice and warmth. Throw up some twinkle lights or stick your feet out on the fire escape for effect … et, voilà!
Or, you can follow this recipe:
1 bottle of dry red wine (750 ml)
2 (juicy) oranges
8 to 10 cloves
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks (or three if you like things particularly cinnamon-y)
fresh ginger, about an ounce, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp coriander, or to taste
1/2 tsp allspice, or to taste
1 tsp nutmeg, or to taste
a sweetener…white or brown sugar, honey…whatever you prefer (we used a white sugar + honey combo)
1. Peel one of the oranges, and cut the rind into strips. Set the orange aside. Put the orange rind, cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Add about a cup and a half of water, just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and boil uncovered for 5 minutes or so.
2. Pour the wine into a large pot and add the remaining spices. Juice the oranges, and add to the wine. Add the spiced water (spices, orange rind and all.) Heat on very low heat until the wine is warm. You don’t want the wine to boil, ever (or you’ll boil off the alcohol.)
3. When the wine is warm, add a few tablespoons of your sweetener, stirring to dissolve. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Taste, and adjust the sweetness and spice. You might even add a splash of port, to round it out. Simmer a little while longer, 15 minutes if you can stand it, to allow the flavors to develop.
4. Strain into mugs and enjoy!