Jun 28, 2010

Merry Mid-Winter!

Reading: The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Listening to:

Watching: Dr Who

Making me smile: Gingerbread and mulled wine!

Well, it's midwinter, folks! (Or midsummer, if you're in
the northern hemisphere.) Down here in New Zealand, it's cold, dark, grey, wet, and I can see some snow on the mountains (when the clouds lift). For me, though, midwinter will always mean snow piled thickly on the ground and candles shining in windows and thin, crisp gingerbread and fragrant, spicy mulled wine.

You see, when I was seventeen I had the great good fortune to live in Sweden for a year. Best year of my life! I love Sweden, and I love the change of seasons there. Winter is winter in a way it isn't in New Zealand. The days are short and freezing. There's snow falling from the sky, snow piled up on the ground. Candles shine in people's windows. And best of all, there's plenty of homemade gingerbread cookies and mulled wine, or in Swedish: pepparkakor and gl

So, to celebrate Midwinter, this year I made some mulled wine. Fortunately, there's a Swedish bakery in town, so I didn't have to root my Swedish cookbooks out of storage -- I could just buy a bag of heart-shaped gingerbread cookies! For those of you who'd like to join me in celebrating mid-winter, below is the mulled wine recipe I used. (And, not to blow my own trumpet, but this glögg is amazing!)

1 bottle red table wine (I used a merlot)
100ml vodka
20 cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
4 sticks cinnamon
3 pieces crystallised ginger
zest of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar

1. Crush the cinnamon sticks. Pu
t all spices plus the lemon zest in a glass jar with the vodka. Leave overnight. (On the left is what my vodka looked like. It smelled fantastic!)

2. Strain the vodka, discard the spices.

3. Mix the spiced vodka with the wine and sugar.

4. Heat all the ingredients in a large saucepan until steaming hot. DO NOT boil! Stir and taste.

5. If not sweet enough, add more sugar. If too sweet, add more wine.

6. Serve with gingerbread cookies.

7. Enjoy!

So, how are you marking mid-winter? I know what I'm doing -- having some more glögg!



  1. Ooh, Emily... reading your post, I swear I'd died and gone to heaven! I tried mulled wine for the first time last year in Switzerland (in January), and it warmed me down to the soles of my feet. I've been searching for a recipe ever since.

    Hmm... I can feel a midwinter gathering coming on. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I've never tried mulled wine - I'm not much of a wine drinker - but I think I should try a batch of that. I have my sister and family coming to stay next weekend, which should be the perfect time to make some!

    Hey, Emily, I'll tell you what made me smile the most - seeing at the top of your post that you're watching Dr Who! I wondered if you'd keep watching it when you got home. =)

  3. Oh Emily, this recipe looks too good to resist!! (coming from a home brewer!!) Definately going to try this one =)
    Thanks for sharing - and would soo love to see Sweden. One day...

  4. Hey Emily,
    That recipe sounds great. I had mulled wine about 15 years ago in England and I still remember how good it was. Delicious!! I'll have to give your recipe a try.
    Happy Mid Winter! Hope you enjoyed that great looking gingerbread too!!

  5. Mulled wine in Switzerland, Michelle? Sounds fabulous! Do give this recipe a try -- I think it will warm you to the soles of your feet, too!

  6. Yes, do try it out on your sister, Rachel! It's very more-ish. Kind of hard to stop drinking it, once you start! Particularly on a chilly evening.

    Well, yes, someone did get me hooked on Dr Who. Not pointing the finger at anyone in particular, of course, Ms Bailey!

  7. A home brewer, huh, Mel? Then this recipe should be right up your alley! I think it's marinating the lemon peel and spices in the vodka that makes it so yummy. Very fragrant, both on the nose and tongue!

    Yes, put Sweden on your list. Great place!

  8. Hi Cath, nice to see you here! We did enjoy the gingerbread -- very tasty! Please, do, give the recipe a try. I hope you find it as delicious as we did!

  9. Emily, my ancestors came from Sweden and Norway so I feel honour bound to try your glogg recipe! I imagine it makes the house smell delicious and that the fumes alone would be intoxicating! Note to self - when making glogg, don't plan on driving anywhere!

    Mmmm, I wonder what the neighbours are doing this weekend...

  10. Sharon, you are so right! Delicious smells, yes. Intoxicating fumes, yes. And definitely no driving afterwards!

    I have Swedish ancestry too. Maybe we're related, somewhere down the line!

  11. Hi Emily --
    Great recipe! I haven't had mulled wine for a long time.

    Now it might be mid-winter, but I'm in the tropics...so while it isn't quite as humid as the wet season, I don't think we'll be making any mulled wine (-: Cold drinks are still the best!

    You've made me pine for some cooler weather, a cozy fire and a steaming mug of anything hot.

  12. Yeah, you really need some nice chilly weather for mulled wine, Anna! That's one of the reasons I liked Sweden so much -- it had all the four seasons properly. Mulled wine and candles perfectly suit a cold, dark winter! And after a winter like that, spring is a miracle, and then summer is astonishingly lovely, and autumn glorious. And then it's time for mulled wine and snow again!