It seems kind of odd to be celebrating Toronto's first snow storm of the season, but that's exactly what I'm doing right now. If it's already cold outside, then why not add a little fluffy snowfall to make me feel like I'm living inside a snow globe. The only problem is that our apartment radiators aren't exactly blaring, so even under my many layers of mid-day pyjamas, I'm still feeling chilly. Chilly is a relative term though, considering I grew up on the ski slopes of Quebec and used to laugh in the face of -30º C! But the body adjusts to warmer temperatures rather quickly, and now that I live in Toronto, I start to weep every time it dips below 0º. So, all considering, it seems like the perfect day to make some holiday wine. It -10º right now, a happy medium between my past and present lives.
On the off-chance that you've never heard of it, mulled wine is heated red wine with a variety of spices in it. It's a great holiday drink for family or social gatherings. To me, mulled wine is as comforting as tea but quite a bit more thrilling, especially considering the fact that you need to be of drinking age to enjoy it.
Here's my recipe for it:
Mulled Wine for Toronto "Winters":
1 1/2 bottles of full-bodied red wine of your choice
3 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
9 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg, finely grated
1 clementine, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp of sugar
1- Combine all of your spices and peeled clementine in a piece of cheese cloth and tie with a string.
2- Heat your wine in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, adding in sugar and your sachet of spices.
3- Once the wine comes to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until it is nice and well-mulled.
4- Serve with a big ladle, making sure to secretly give yourself the biggest portion. You made this mull, so you get the lion's share.
Note: Sneak a sip or two, and adjust the sugar or spices if it doesn't taste right. I've come across recipes that use vanilla bean or lime, but I decided to skip them. You can play around with this recipe. Be brave! Salut!
While I also don't usually suggest wine and musical pairings, a glass of mulled wine goes quite well (in my opinion) with a listen to the below performance by the band Daughter, which a lovely old friend of mine in London recently introduced me to: