I can’t think of a single thing that I don’t love about the holidays. I love eating cookies. I love staring in awe at my tastefully-decorated balsam fir tree. I love jumping around frenetically to Hanson and New Kids on the Block Christmas music, dancing myself silly until I hit a poorly-placed moose antler with my ankle, and sink into the carpet in pain. And I love repeating the whole ordeal day after day after day.
And on this day (roughly Day 20 of my holiday celebrations), after yet another senseless and disgusting gun-based tragedy, I also can’t think of a single thing I’m not thankful for at this time of year. I’m thankful our friends in Newtown are safe. I’m thankful to be in good health and good cheer. I’m thankful for the suspense of funny-shaped gifts under the tree. And, I’ll be honest, I’m so very thankful for the deliciousness that is mulled wine.
Last year, I wrote up a series of Christmas cookie recipes, with each being given a new or fanciful twist. This year…. well, this year, I just want to drink mulled wine. But I’m not much of a lush by trade, so I’ve been forced to get crafty. Oh, darn.
And so, crafty one that I am, I’ve created a few recipes that I hope you’ll love, with mulled wine as the star of each one. Up first – beautifully deep-colored mulled wine in wiggly, jiggly solid form, or Mulled Wine Gelatin.
For all of my mulled wine craftiness coming to you now and in the near future, I used a ginormous 1.5L bottle of the cheapest red wine I could find. I usually grab a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, but whatever you like best will work. The drier the wine, the more sugar you may wish to add, especially if the end product is going to be gelatin. Keep in mind that liquid sweeteners can be used in place of granulated or brown sugar, and I find that it works well to add honey if in need of an extra sweet touch.
This is an easily eaten jello, and while it is alcoholic in nature, I doubt you’d feel inclined to eat enough of it to do much damage. That said, it’s tasty, unexpected, fun to eat, and filled with Christmas cheer. Cheers!
Mulled Wine Gelatin
This will fill one medium-large gelatin mold, or three smaller molds. I used three cups of a 6-cup mini bundt pan for this recipe.
1/2 c. mulled wine, cold (recipe to follow)
2 packets powdered gelatin (2 scant tbsp)
1 1/2 c. mulled wine, heated to a near-boil
1 tbsp honey
Place the cold 1/2 c. of mulled wine in a medium bowl. Pour the two packets of gelatin over the wine, and let sit for a minute or two. Pour in the hot wine, and stir well. Add in the tbsp of honey, and mix to combine. Pour into molds, and chill in the fridge for at least four hours before serving.
For one regular-sized bottle of wine
1/2 c. granulated sugar (or 1/2 c. other sweetener, such as honey or agave)
1 bottle red wine
1/2 unpeeled orange or 1 tangerine, cut into sections
1 cinnamon stick
1 heaping tbsp mulling spices (allspice, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and mace)
1 tbsp brown sugar
In a large pot, combine sugar with a few splashes of wine. Add orange slices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for five minutes. Using a spoon or spatula, flatten the orange slices, exuding the juice and releasing the zest.
Add the rest of the wine, the cinnamon stick, and the mulling spices. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to boil or simmer, as this will reduce the alcohol content. Near the end of cooking, add brown sugar to round out the flavors.
Serve immediately, when hot, or use in recipes such as Mulled Wine Gelatin, above.
Stay tuned for more recipes featuring the perennially delicious mulled wine. Meanwhile, give your friends and family great big hugs, and let them know how much you appreciate them. Life is so very sweet.