Weather is getting chilly, leaves are falling, and winter is coming. Picking the right spice flavors will lift your spirits when the weather is gloomy : Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, star anise, nutmeg and cacao are the backbone spices of many warm winter drinks.
Mulled wine, or “gluhwein” in German, is a classic winter and Christmas time drink. Simple to make and delicious to drink; there is nothing like a mulled beverage, be it wine or cider, on a cold winter night. Mulling spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and star anise can be placed in a cheesecloth bag and put directly into the beverage that is being simmered in a pot on the stove for 20 minutes. For mulled wine, use a hearty red wine and 2 tablespoons of mulling spice. If you want the mulled wine a little sweeter, you can add some orange juice, honey or port to taste. For mulled cider, use 3 tablespoons of mulling spice for a gallon of unfiltered apple cider.
Start simmering a gallon of unfiltered apple cider for 20 minutes in a pot. Add 4 cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a whole orange with whole cloves stuck into it, so the orange is almost fully covered by cloves. Add honey as desired. You can spike it with bourbon or leave it on the side and let people mix to taste. It makes a cozy and delicious warming treat.
Cocoa/ “Mexican Hot Chocolate”
What is better than hot cocoa on a cold winter day. Making it yourself, rather than from a packet, gives you complete control to make your perfect cup. Starting with your 3 cups of your favorite type of milk in a pot, add 3 -4 Tablespoons of pure unsweetened cocoa, add 3-4 Tablespoons sugar or to taste, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. And of course, use a pinch or two of ancho chile powder, which adds a Mexican twist and brings out the best in the cocoa. Heat it over a medium flame until hot, do not boil. Mayans added annatto to cocoa to give it a pleasant red color and a light nutty and peppery taste.
Chai Pumpkin Pie Spiced Tea
A winter drink for tea drinkers with the luscious flavors of fall. Heat 2 cups of water and 1 ½ cups of milk in a pot. Add 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and 2 Tablespoons of your favorite loose black tea leaves. Stir all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Strain through a sieve, squeezing out all the liquid from the leaves. Place in a mug and add sugar to taste.
ENJOY AND KEEP WARM!!!