Life philosophy #1056 – If one is going to have a Christmas tree, don't mess around
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“Come over. We're putting up our tree, and inviting friends to help us with the trimming.”
This weekend, a cold December evening in Iowa, we walked a few houses down. Excited to see friends, catch up on everybody's holiday plans, have some tasty snacks, and a glass of wine or two
We turned onto the drive. “THAT!? That's the tree?” Pause to absorb. “How TALL do you think it is?”
18 feet !!
Amongst all the people dressed up in their pretty holiday clothes, putting ornaments on the tree. My husband and I made our way to the kitchen; Gluhwein simmered on the stovetop.
I'd never had this warm spiced wine, and it was pretty good stuff
So the next day, we started a batch of our own
There are lots of recipes out there, but this combination seemed just right to us. Letting the spices become the star, lemon to brighten the taste and round out the flavors, natural sugar for sweet
Warming it ever so gently to develop the spices, a slow afternoon simmer
Wine, homemade from my parents, a Cabernet with a kick. They'd smile with approval at our endeavors.
Speaking of spices, there are different philosophies around their addition
We put them directly into the wine while it was simmering, more because seeing the spice sediment, if you will, at the bottom of my mug doesn't bother me. One could certainly use a bouquet garni or strain them out before drinking
The house smelled wonderful
I couldn't help but think it would be great to bottle up and give as gifts with a loaf of homemade bread
A little extra kick? How about some brandy, sweet sherry, or even port?
ps: How many lights, or ornaments for that matter, were used in the decorating of the 18′ Christmas tree? The world may never know.
pps: A special tip about heating your wine. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't boil, or the alcohol will evaporate. The perfect temperature is 160 degrees F, with the danger of losing alcohol content beginning at 167 degrees F.
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~ Adapted from Frugal Feeding
Glühwein (Mulled wine)
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- ½ cup water
- 3 Tbsp natural sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter wine, we like ours on the dry side)
- 3 cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 2 cinnamon stick
- half a lemon, sliced
- Add all of the ingredients into a heavy bottom saucepan
- Leave the wine to warm, until it's just under a simmer (you should see some bubbles and a bit of steam rising)
- Allow it to simmer, without boiling, for a few hours