Here we are, at the end of another very strange and unusual year. 2021 saw a nice rebound in people having playing opportunities, and while there are still major things going on -- between COVID-related restrictions and Supply-Chain issues, it's been... ah... interesting to say the least -- we're still here, making music together.
The Gollihur Music crew hopes that it's been a safe, healthy, prosperous, and musical year for you and your loved ones. And sends best wishes for a wonderful 2022 -- we hope everything is looking up from here!
As my gift to you, here's the Gollihurs' favorite recipe for Glühwein (a wonderful mulled spice wine), which has become a holiday tradition at my home. We make it for Christmas, but we always have a bit left over for a toast at midnight in front of the fire on New Year's Eve.
Some explanation: when my wife Beki and I were on our honeymoon in Europe, we happened to be there during the Christmas Market season. And we first experienced Glühwein at those markets. Having not really enjoyed other mulled wines in the past, we didn't hold much hope for it to be something we'd love. But we wanted to experience the "local flavors" while there, so we bought a mug to share. We were VERY pleasantly surprised, it's a wonderful warming drink that makes being outside in the cold weather rather tolerable, if not enjoyable. (I'm sure my European customers are all rolling their eyes and saying "duh" right about now).
At most of the markets, you'd buy a mug of it at one booth, wander around the market sipping, and you could use the same mug for a refill (at a discount) at any other stand that had it (and plenty of them did!) You could keep the mug as a souvenir, or turn it in when you left for a deposit. We had at least a mug-full or two at every Christmas market, from Salzburg to Vienna and beyond.
After we came home, we found the recipe below, which perfectly nailed the flavor of the many mugs we had while abroad. When we took it to our family Christmas gathering, it was a huge hit - and now we bring it every year.
Recipes vary in ingredients, ratios and methods, but this one tastes *exactly* like what Beki and I had in Austria. A cup of this - poured into a ceramic mug - is the perfect Holiday beverage. It should be served hot, like tea, but not boiling.
It has alcohol (obviously) so it's not for kids or teetotalers, though I did make non-alcoholic Glühwein one year for Beki (when she was pregnant with our daughter) that came pretty close and was a good substitute! (variation below)
Recipe for Glühwein - Mulled Spiced Wine Drink
SERVES 16, (8 Ounce mugs)
- 1 large orange
- 1 large lemon
- 20-30 whole cloves (or more to your taste)
- 2-4 cinnamon sticks (more if you like)
- 1 gallon Burgundy wine (preferably German wine of the Rhone/Rhine region - "Dornfelder" is perfect)
- 12-16 ounces rum (optional, but adds flavor and "warming")
- 1 cup sugar (may add more if you prefer it sweeter)
- Pour the wine into a large pot, and add the cinnamon sticks.
- Cut the Lemon and the Orange in half. Insert whole cloves into the RIND of the fruits (I found it useful to poke a small slit in the rind with a knife to make it easier). Drop all four halves into the wine.
- Bring just to a boil, and then reduce to very low heat and simmer, COVERED for about 45 minutes.
- Turn off heat and remove from hot burner (or, if you use a crock pot like I do, set at lowest setting to keep warm).
- Remove the lemon and orange halves, remove the cloves from the rinds, and then squeeze the juices back into the wine.
- Add the rum, and stir it into the wine. (I do find that the rum can be a little harsh when first added. Allowing a bit of time for it to further simmer mellows it out.)
- You can either add the sugar to the whole pot (what I do) or add sugar to taste to each mug.
- Put pot back on very very low burner to keep warm or use an alcohol burner or crock pot to keep it hot. Save the wine bottles; unused portions ( as if there will be any left!) can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 months and reheated.
NON-ALCOLHOLIC KID-SAFE VERSION:
I bought some unsweetened purple grape juice (not "cocktail") and followed the recipe pretty closely with slight variation. For instance, I used a little extra cinnamon, and used less sugar to sweeten to taste, as the grape juice is naturally much sweeter than the wine. I also put in a touch of Imitation Rum Extract to match the flavor of the "real" stuff, though that's optional.
If you have kids (or non-drinkers) at your gathering, and don't want them to be left out of the fun, a small batch of this might just be the ticket!
My wife Beki enjoys a bit of Glühwein at the Christmas Market in Vienna.