Brrrr – in this weather, I think we all need something hot to drink! My fingers are freezing as I type, my computer is on a go-slow to end all go-slows (thanks Seacom) and all I can think of is a steaming hot cup of something delicious.
Now I could, of course, choose a hot chocolate, a warming Milo or that English staple, a nice cup of tea, but those of you who know me will not be at all surprised to find that my mind is running to wine once again. Mulled wine to be exact, or Gluhwein as it is known in Germany.
In fact, it is known as all sorts of things across Europe – the French call it ‘vin chaud’, the Moldovans ‘izvar’ the Poles drink ‘grzane wino’ and the Norwegians and Swedes rely on a glass of ‘Glögg’ to warm up the long winter nights. You can make it from both red and white wines, although most people choose red, and spicing differs slightly depending on taste and tradition. For a good all-round basic recipe, check out this one here.
Important things to remember when making mulled wine include:
1. Never let your wine boil – it will go bitter. When it starts to steam, then serve it.
2. Make sure the glasses you use are heat-proof and serve your mulled wine with napkins to wrap around in case it’s too hot to hold.
3. Buy cheap wine – hooray! The wine you use shouldn’t have too many tannins and shouldn’t be too heavily oaked – both attributes more commonly found in expensive wines. The supermarkets have a whole host of inexpensive gluggers costing about R30 so I should use one of those.
4. Once you’ve made your pot of wine, you can add to it throughout the evening, which makes it a great drink for parties.
Of course, if wine isn’t your thing, you can make a Negus instead which uses Port and hot water along with the same mulled wine spices – again, don’t waste money on a vintage Port, a ruby port will do just fine. Or you can try a Hot Toddy which is whisky, hot water, lemons and cinnamon instead.
But since we are all still feeling the ‘gees’ from the World Cup, I think we should drink a new, proudly South African winter drink. This is actually a new cocktail recipe I was sent recently called iGoli, and was devised to be a version of iced tea, but I think it could also be served warm.
Make up some rooibos tea in a pan and add sugar, chopped apples, cinnamon and cloves. Just before serving add a tot of brandy to each cup – something like Fish Eagle or Klipdrift would be fine – stir and serve in front of a hot fire with a good-looking chap at your side. May the warmth be with you!
Now that the World Cup is over (sniff sniff) you can try out all these amazing restaurant specials!
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