Mull This Over

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Actually the weather outside has been was fairly frightening. Not cold enough to snow, too rainy for a walk and so it seems like a little Christmas Cheer is in order. This time of year makes me cherish memories of a trip I took with my mom and sister to the Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria. As we walked around the vendors’ stalls the smell of hot mulled wine slowly simmering in big black pots was so tempting we couldn’t resist. I will admit that warm wine never sounded very appealing, in fact – and this is sort of embarrassing – I keep red wine in the fridge. My excuse is that “room temperature” in Nashville probably doesn’t mean the same thing as it does everywhere else, but I recognize that this is pretty flimsy. So even though the delicious scent was calling my name, I was about three markets into the second day before I actually tried mulled wine and let me tell you – it was love at first sip. Since that trip, I’ve tried tons of recipes with varying degrees of success, but I’ve figured out two things: it really does taste better on a cold wintery day and – this one is new – honey!  

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 Using honey instead of sugar just makes mulled wine magic. The spices make it pop. Now that we have bees in the back yard, it’s been fun to experiment with honey in different recipes, but this a favorite. Best of all, you can make mulled wine in a couple of minutes on the stovetop, or throw everything in the crockpot and let the aroma take over your home. Here is my advice for what it’s worth, light a fire in the fireplace, turn on your favorite music, and either get a good book, or some knitting going or maybe ask some of your favorite folks to drop in. Make Hot Honey Mulled Wine very soon and enjoy some well-deserved holiday comfort and cheer.

 Sallie will be cooking up a tasty treat on Channel 5’s Talk of the Town this Wednesday the 20th. Tune in at 11:00 AM or watch online after the broadcast.

Hot Honey Mulled Wine

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1 bottle red wine

5 Tbsp honey (taste and add more if you like)

1 orange, sliced (more for garnish if desired)

2 cinnamon sticks

2 to 3 star anise

½  tsp whole cloves

¼  tsp whole black pepper corns

Optional: ½ cup brandy


Combine ingredients in a saucepan (not aluminum) and bring to a simmer, not a boil, over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

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It is ready to enjoy and will be good over a very low heat for up to 4 hours.

Slow Cooker directions: Combine ingredients in slow cooker and allow to heat to a simmer. (Different heat levels for different brands – I use high and turn to low when it’s hot enough.)

Star Anise (really does look like a star)      

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