Mulled Wine

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When I think of mulled wine, I think of my daughter and I visiting my other daughter in December of 2010 in London. Everything was Christmassy, and it was cold, as expected. The first thing she did when we met up at her flat was to prepare mulled wine. It was so charming and thoughtful.

But I had no idea that mulled wine is so popular in London, at least during the cold months I presume. In fact, every single pub we visited, which was daily, served mulled wine.

Here is a special photo of us three gals at The Marylebone, after warming our spirits with mulled wine.

Those memories, of the beautiful quaint pubs, the Christmas markets, the mulled wine, fabulous meals, but mostly of being with my two daughters at a special time of year, were so important to me, that once home, I haven’t wanted to make mulled wine. I needed to preserve those memories some how. Until now.

Out of curiosity, I sought out recipes for mulled wine online, and they’re basically all straight forward. In fact, you can simply mull wine with purchased mulling spices! If you don’t know, the act of mulling is simmering or steeping the wine or cider.

I found a recipe on Epicurious along with a blurb written by Katherine Sachs that offered a bit more information when proceeding with mulled wine, with more options.

Katherine writes that “In Germany it’s called Glühwein and it’s occasionally made with with fruit wine; it’s Glögg in Scandinavia, and usually served with a spiced cookie or cake; in Quebec they mix in maple syrup and hard liquor and call it Caribou.”

I need to look into a Caribou. But on to mulled wine…

For a stronger pot, add some liquor, such as brandy or spiced rum. Mulled wine can also be made with white wine, such as a Riesling or Grüner Veltliner, if you prefer that style.

Mulled Wine
Serves 2, 3, 4…

1 bottle of good red wine, like a pinot noir
2 cups apple cider
1 cup ruby port
A couple slices of orange rind
4 cinnamon sticks
20 whole cloves
2 crushed allspice
Star anise and cinnamon sticks and orange slices for serving

Pour the wine, cider, and port into an enamel pot. Add the orange rinds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice.

Start heating slowly on a low-to-medium setting. You want to steep the wine, not boil or reduce it.

After about 30-40 minutes it will be done. Sieve the mixture if you don’t want the little spice bits.

Serve in cups with a cinnamon stick, star anise, and slices of orange.

I purposely didn’t shake the bottle of apple cider. I didn’t want the mulled wine to look murky.

This is especially important if you chose to serve the mulled wine in a glass cup. You want it pretty and burgundy, not brown and murky.

The mulled wine would work well in a carafe, so you don’t have to keep it on the stove. Just serve!

Hope you enjoy this recipe.


I have prepared mulled port before and that is slightly sweeter than mulled wine, but definitely still warming and flavorful. It was mulled with clementines.

Carrot Cider Soup

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My husband and I were lucky enough to go to the restaurant Square One in San Francisco many years ago. And we were on expense account. There’s just something about that benefit that makes the dining experience even more wonderful!

The restaurant, owned by chef Joyce Goldstein, opened in 1984. According to an article I found online, Joyce Goldstein was “one of, if not the first, to explore Mediterranean food with her interpretations of specialties from Turkey, Italy, Greece, Morocco and other sun-washed countries.”

All I remember was that the menu was impressive and the food delicious. I unfortunately don’t remember any specifics of that night. I’m guessing our wine was plentiful, however, this dining experience was 30 years ago!

In 1992 Joyce Goldstein published the cookbook Back to Square One – Old-World Food in a New-World Kitchen.
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Recently I decided to peruse some older cookbooks of mine, and I immediately fell in love with Back to Square One again. There are so many recipes I want to try, like Balkan crab salad with walnuts and lemon mayonnaise. As well as recipes I want to make again, like Catalan-style quail stuffed in roasted peppers with olives.

This weekend we’re having our favorite people over to raclette` and I found a soup in the cookbook that will be perfect to begin our feast.

The actual name of Joyce Goldstein’s soup is French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup. It’s a carrot soup with the addition of hard cider. To make it a little more festive, I decided to top off the soup with a little creme fraiche and some julliened apples.

Unfortunately I’m not so good at presentation, but here is the recipe:
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French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup
Back to Square One

Serves 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and sweet, 10 to 15 minutes.
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Add the carrot chunks and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are very tender.

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Purée the soup in the blender or food processor, using only as much of the stock as necessary to purée the carrots.

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Transfer the purée to a clean saucepan and then add the apple cider, the cream, and as much of the remaining stock as necessary to think the soup to the desired consistency.

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I actually added the cider and cream while the soup was still in the blender jar.
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Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar or nutmeg if the soup needs sweetening.
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I added a small dollop of creme fraiche, and a few jullienned apples, plus freshly ground nutmeg, and also pink peppercorns.

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note: After making this soup with the uncooked hard cider, I have a few thoughts.
1. In spite of the low alcohol content, the flavor is too sharp and raw for the soup.
2. Perhaps the hard cider would work better after first a reduction of 50%.
3. Regular apple cider would work, but it should be added along with the chicken broth.
4. A splash of Calvados could add a little flavor, but I recommend adding it along with the chicken broth.
5. Including a cored apple or pear to the carrots would add a natural sweetness to the soup.

Beet Vinaigrette

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You all know by now that I love vinaigrettes, and I always make them with different ingredients. To me, it’s really fun to mix and match seasonal ingredients and flavors in pairing a salad with a vinaigrette.

Whenever I purchase canned beets, which happens when I run out of my own pickled beets, I always save the beet juice. That’s just a rule. I typically pour it, strained if necessary, into a little pot and reduce it to a syrup-like consistency. Then, it can be added to any basic vinaigrette for that beautiful beet color and earthy flavor.

But today I simply added an equal amount of white wine (red or champagne would have worked as well) to the beet juice and reduced the liquid to a syrup.

Then I poured it into a jar.

I added about 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup vinegar, in this case red wine vinegar, plus a little salt, and shook the jar. I prefer a more emulsified look of the vinaigrette because of the resulting red color.

Of course, you can get more involved with the vinaigrette and add garlic, cloves, mustard, and so forth, but I like the simplicity of the reduced beet juice in a simple vinaigrette such as this.

My salad was one of those use-what-you have salads which, besides lettuce, included sliced beets, mushrooms, carrots, sprouts, and toasted pumpkin seeds. I used a little bacon and some soft-boiled eggs for protein, as my avocados weren’t behaving properly. And I’d recently picked up a pomegranate, so I decided that the pomegranate seeds would be wonderful with the beet-based vinaigrette.


And it was delicious. I encourage you to save every little bit of everything and use it in a vinaigrette! It always works!

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I’ve posted before on a beet and cider vinaigette, based on a beet juice and apple cider mixture. And I’ve also posted on a pear vinaigrette I made with a fresh pear. Think how creative you can get with different fruits and juices!

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This beet vinaigrette would be fabulous with all types of protein, including salmon, avocados, beef, duck and chicken. It pairs beautifully with walnuts, pecans, pine nuts and sunflower seeds. And of course, ingredients like tomatoes and red bell peppers would be good additions to your salad as well, I just didn’t want them in this particular salad because I feel they would clash with the pomegranate seeds.

Pom Cider Vin

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I happened to have some pomegranate juice left over in my refrigerator from making festive cocktails in December, as well as some apple cider that I’d used for hot buttered apple cider over the holidays, so I had an idea. No, not more drinks, but instead – a flavorful and pretty vinaigrette.

If you read my fresh pear vinaigrette post, you know I like to make my own vinaigrettes. To me, there’s no need to buy them. Ever!

At home you can control the ingredients, and make the vinaigrettes customized to your liking. And the list of possibilities are endless.

So with the leftover juice and cider, I created this vinaigrette. Some people prefer a more oily vinaigrette than I do; I like the flavor of the vinegar, so I like a 50-50 ratio of oil to juice and vinegar. It’s a personal choice.

But this recipe is a place to start, if you’ve never made a vinaigrette from scratch.

Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Firstly, place the pomegranate juice and apple cider in a small pot. Begin the reduction process. Which means do not leave the kitchen for a good hour. It’s a slow procedure, but an important one.
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Towards the end you will have created a pomegranate cider syrup.

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While the syrup is still warm, pour it in to a heat-proof jar and let it cool for a little bit.
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Add the red wine vinegar. I’m using approximately an equal volume as the syrup.
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Then add the olive oil. I’m adding approximately an equal volume as the syrup and vinegar mixture.
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Add the salt, then close the jar and give the dressing a good shake.
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If you don’t like the brownish color of the dressing, omit the apple cider and stick with pomegranate and cranberry juices only.

The slight fruitiness of this vinaigrette pairs beautiful with all kinds of salad ingredients.
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Today I prepared a green salad with beets, orange slices, garbanzo beans, goat cheese, and pine nuts. I kept this salad light, but grilled chicken or salmon could easily have been added; both would also compliment the dressing.
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Because of the sweetness of the dressing, it would also be good on spicy greens like arugula, plus the addition of fresh pears or apples.

Get creative with these dressings. You can use just about anything that you have leftover – even champagne – for a wonderful and unique vinaigrette. I very often use leftover beet juice as well, as I did here, using a combination of the beet juice and apple juice for a little sweetness. Beet juice adds a wonderful earthiness that pairs with carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and many other salad ingredients as well.

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note: Pomegranate and cranberry juices both make red vinaigrettes if you use the juices by themselves, without the addition of apple cider. So they’re really pretty to serve over the Christmas holiday season, or even for a special Valentine’s meal! !

Beet-Apple Vinaigrette

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I have never purchased a vinaigrette or salad dressing. And nobody else needs to, either. They’re just so easy to make from scratch!

If you have a favorite you always purchase, just read the ingredients on the bottle, and use those ingredients to make your own! It’s pretty incredible how much less expensive dressings are when made at home… Plus, you’re spared the preserving chemicals!!!

During the fall-winter months, I like deep-flavored and earthy dressings, like this vinaigrette based on beet and apple juices. I never throw beet juice away – mostly because I love this vinaigrette. (I collect it year round because I love sliced beets in salads!)

During these months, I also have apple juice or cider around. Beets and apples are a perfect flavor combination. So here’s what I did:

Beet-Apple Vinaigrette

Juice from 1 – 15 ounce can of sliced beets, strained
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Reduce the beet and apple juices in a small saucepan until a thick syrup has formed. Do not leave the kitchen while you’re doing this. It can happen quickly!

Let cool, then add the remaining ingredients and stir until the salt has dissolved. Using a funnel, pour the dressing into a serving carafe and store in the fridge. Let warm up before using.

This earthy vinaigrette is really good on a chopped salad with endives, pear, and mozzarella, or a simple garden salad with carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It also pairs beautifully with both bleu cheese and goat cheese.

note: You can sweeten the flavor if you like, with Boiled Cider, or add a little balsamic vinegar. (Boiled cider is actually a product you can purchase – it is simple reduced apple cider.)