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Camp Favorites - Recipes for Mulled Wine and Spiced Cider

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Spiced Cider recipesWarm up after a night of trick or treating.

Spiced Cider for the kids and Mulled cider for the adults...perfection!

The beginning of winter is a classic time to gather indoors, enjoying warmth and good cheer during the darkest days of the year.  This year, make your solstice or holiday celebration special by serving hot cider or wine.  The rich, spicy aroma these drinks give off is worth the effort alone -- but they also taste delicious!

Mulled Wine

Heated and spiced red wine is a traditional winter drink all over the world.  In the Middle Ages, when wine sometimes went bad before it was drunk, the addition of spices and honey made vinegary wine drinkable again.  Because warm drinks are fabulous to sip on during the winter, the tradition stuck and has stayed with us to this day.

In Norway, mulled wine is called glogg and is heated with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus, and sugar.  This drink is also popular in Germany, where it's called gluhwein.  Sometimes almonds and raisins are added in Scandinavia.  Germany is also famous for its fruit wines like blueberry and cherry.  In Romania, vin fiert (boiled wine), is made with red or white wine and peppercorns.  Mulled wine is also popular in Northern Italy and in Moldova, where it's made from red wine boiled with honey and black pepper.

Mulled Wine

Ingredients

1 bottle of red wine
2/3 c sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 lemon, sliced
Zest from one orange
5 cloves
(Optional: 1/2 c brandy)

Pour the wine into a heavy-bottomed pot and place over low heat.  It's important not to boil the wine, only heat it.  Use a zester or knife to take the zest from the orange (avoiding the white pith).  Use the end of your knife to pound the zest lightly to release its aroma.  Add to wine.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the wine and let simmer gently, stirring occasionally.  When the wine begins to steam, it's ready to serve.  Remove from heat and ladle into mugs.  Leave the spices behind and discard.

For a family-friendly hot drink that's also delicious, try making your own hot cider.  This recipe calls for some water because the cider is meant to be left on the stove while guests come and go, taking mugs of it away as they please.  If you plan to serve it all at once, omit the water and just use the apple juice.  This recipe works well in a crock pot or slow cooker.

Spiced Cider Recipe

Ingredients

1 gallon apple cider
2 c water
5 cinnamon sticks
18 whole cloves
Zest of one lemon
Zest of half an orange

Place the cider in a pot or crock pot and turn to low heat.  While it's heating, zest your orange and lemon and add to the cider.  Add cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Let the cider heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.  If you like, garnish with a cinnamon stick, an apple slice, or a slice of lemon.

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