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December 25, 2011

Grazing: Mulled Wine Recipe From Nina Koch

Mulledwine_84959_16x9Though Christmas is drawing to a close, a good mulled wine can warm your bones all winter. When I learned that Nina Koch, a regional wine representative at Vermont Wine Merchants, had perfected her own version, I asked to reprint it here and she graciously agreed. 

"After combing through many different recipes and watching some pretty comical YouTube videos, I came up with a fantastic recipe for some savory and delicious mulled wine," she says. "It took a few attempts and minor adjustments, but this will have you and your guests rosy cheeked and feeling festive." 

Nina introduced the recipe on her brand-new food-and-wine radio program, "The Sunday Night Crush," which airs every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on With Seven Days' end-of-the-year madness and my own holiday plans, I couldn't post it until now — but this recipe could be useful for New Year's Eve parties, and beyond. The generous Nina is happy to answer wine-related questions, too; just email her at The Crush.

Mulled Wine 

"The Germans called this beverage 'Gluhwein' since it always made their cheeks glow after drinking it. Cheers!" 

— Nina Koch


1 orange 
15 whole cloves
1 lemon 
3 slices of crystallized ginger 
10 whole peppercorns 
3 large cinnamon sticks 
10 kernels allspice 
2-3 star anise
1 cup water 
2 tablespoons of sugar or honey 
1 bottle of medium-bodied red wine ($10 and under is fine. Nina uses a Zinfandel, "but anything without a lot of oak and low in tannin will work," she says.)

Spices can be adjusted to personal preference. 

Kitchen tools:
1 medium-size saucepan, but not aluminum, as it will react with the wine's acids
1 metal steamer basket (Nina uses this rather than straining hot wine through cheesecloth)
4 mugs

Stud the orange with cloves, then cut into slices and place in the steamer basket. With a sharp knife, gently cut three slices of lemon rind lengthwise, just the bright yellow outer layer — avoid the bitter white pith. Add whole spices, lemon peel and ginger to the steamer basket.

Add water and sugar or honey to a saucepan and bring to a low simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Place basket with the fruit and spices in the center of the pot, then pour in the bottle of wine, covering the spices and citrus. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Keep the heat as low as possible — the higher the heat, the more alcohol will burn off. (If you see white steam, the heat is too high.) The wine should warm up gently — if you boil it rapidly the wine will become very sour, the tannins too abrasive.  

After about 20 minutes, taste the wine. If it's not sweet enough, add a touch more honey or sugar and simmer for five more minutes. Turn off burner. Gently remove the metal steamer basket with pot holders and discard the contents. Ladle the hot, mulled wine into mugs, garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick, and enjoy! 

Is it just me or has BLURT drifted into a state of useless dullness?
Are there plans for a makeover?
Is the problem that nobody reads it, nobody cares, or people are just sick of being attacked for everything they say?
Good luck for 2012. Fixing this will be a big job.

Tim: the office is closed and everyone is off this week, so that's why posts are scarce. I probably should have put up a post to mention that... Anyway, things should pick back up next week. Have a glass of mulled wine to tide yourself over in the mean time.

Thanks, Tyler, you compulsive workaholic.

"Mulled wine" sounds disgusting.

Happy New Year.

Respectfully, I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Tim. It isn't only the past week. It's probably been for the last year or so, that I have found this blog sorely lacking and woefully disappointing... steadily squandering the wonderful legacy of its predecessor 802 Online.

Let's be clear- Any Seven Days writer can add to this blog, so the fact that there isn't AT LEAST one new post every single day represents failure. Sadly, new posts here cannot be expected here with any regular fequency at all... Monday afer Monday rolls around with the same post that was put up on Friday or even Thursday of the preceding week stilll at the top. It's as if the publishers simply don't care. People are at their computers hungry for something new every Monday at 8am. I am continually dumbfounded by the publishers' failure to at least take advantage of that.

Today is New Years Day. Where's a post about that?

And yes. It seems quite often lately commenters have been castigated or deleted simply for speaking their minds- like Seven Days wants a totally sterilized environment here, with no sharp corners no possibility for anyone to be offended at all.

But I still come back here! I check it every day, because it's the blog run by the only alternative newspaper, and it still owns the legacy of 802 Online, which UNDERSTOOD its role as the geographically proximal media and internet hub for Burlington.

Look I do what I can with my blog, to provide citizen journalism that's RELEVANT to where I live, to entertain and inform, and to provide a place for people to debate and express themselves- but I simply don't have the resources to do what is supposed to be BLURT's job. Please step up and do your job in 2012. You have payin' advertisers and a community that's counting on you.

Has anyone see or tried this recipe? It looks fantastic! Another friend of mine said he made it and it was delish.

Let me know if anyone else has tried this one yet. And those gifts are crazy!

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