Columnist reveals personal recipe for tasty libation!

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For those of you who went out and bought the Nouveau Beaujolais 2015 – after my pre-Thanksgiving column — it is the best in about five years with a great aroma and a ton of fruit.

The only big box store that had this wine was Harris Teeter and they sold about 600 bottles thru last week. The price for 750 ml was $10.99, which was in line with last year, but was a little higher than I had hoped for in light of the strength of the U.S. dollar.

There were still a few cases left last week in case you missed it. However, I would call before driving to the store.

My last column was all about the pairing of food and wine for Thanksgiving.

This time of year, with so many people visiting friends and neighbors, I thought it might be interesting to stray from the usual and offer a seasonal drink with a long history. This drink, with innumerable variations, was very popular in Colonial America and is still popular today all over Europe. It is well suited to the colder weather, which we are now “enjoying.” It is not meant to be fancy and is served with various types of cookies, such as sugar or gingersnaps. Pick your favorite cookie and sit back and relax.

The drink is Mulled Wine, also known as Gluhwein or Glogg, depending on what country you happen to be in. Mulled Wine is very popular in England during the Christmas season and often a host is judged on the quality of his Mulled Wine.

Although made predominately with red wine, there are non-alcoholic versions made with sweet (not hard) cider. Though often made with Cabernet Sauvignon or Port, Mulled Wine can be made with other wine varietals such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Syrah (which adds a spicier note!)

The basic recipe is much the same no matter what country you are in, with just a few minor changes in the spices. This recipe makes 10 servings and may be doubled.


PAGE-B-10-WP-Adrift-imageTwo 750 ml bottles of red wine. Choose something relatively inexpensive such as Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, which is widely available for about $9 per bottle.

1-orange peeled and then juiced

2-large strips of lemon peel, say 1 by 3 inches

1-cinnamon stick

12- whole cloves

1 pinch of nutmeg (go easy) a little goes a long way.

1-cup of granulated sugar — more if you really like sweets

Take one cup of wine and put it in a saucepan. Add all the other ingredients and place on medium heat until hot but not boiling. Take off heat and let flavors infuse for about 30 minutes. Pour this mixture into a slow cooker, add the rest of the wine, and put it on the low setting.

Add some orange and lemon peel for garnish and you are done.Serve directly from the slow cooker. This is so popular I would make a double batch!

For the Glogg version, add 1 cup of good vodka or Aquavit. For non-alcoholic drinks, substitute apple cider for the wine and cut the sugar in half.

I will be writing with more regularity over the coming year! As there are now thousands more copies per week of the County Compass being distributed, I intend to write about the origins of wine, different wine varietals and various producing countries, and in our case about the up and coming North Carolina wineries. This should take the first half of the year or more.

I really want to have more interaction with my readers this year; so, please send in your questions as the basic reason for this column is to make the wine drinking experience more enjoyable. The more you know about wine the easier it is to order in a restaurant and to purchase for home consumption.

In addition, the County Compass editor and and I have been discussing how we might bring more attention to restaurants in the four counties around here: Pamlico, Carteret, Craven and Beaufort. More on this later.

As usual, I welcome thoughts, suggestions and questions. I can be reached via e-mail as follows Happy New Year to all.