As I write this the “Beast from the East” and a local UK storm “Emma” is firmly beating down upon us ! – Scotland is in the grip of -15, Most of NE England has fallen to a stand still and most of SW is almost under control of the Army . Almost sounds like this could be a take over from a military dictatorship or an episode from “Game of Thrones”
The polar vortex nicknamed “Beast From The East” has spiraled in from the arctic and is to blame. Winter is coming…..
What caused this and what can we do to solve it !
A polar vortex is a mass of desperately cold air that sits above the Earth’s north and south poles. Controlled by a large pocket of low pressure it rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole. When the vortex is strong it is concentrated over the Arctic or Antarctic area -but when weak it can split into two or more freezing vortices. This is where the problems start as they can move south to Canada, the USA and Europe, increasing the risk of air temperatures decreasing to potentially dangerous levels.Which is what we are witnessing at the moment.
Photo taken this week showing the cold snap over most of Europe
This weeks weather affecting airports
NATIONAL MULLED WINE DAY USA
National Mulled Wine Day is observed annually on March 3rd.
Mulled spirits are wine and liquors that have been heated and spiced. Mulled wine is usually made with red wine (usually inexpensive but full of fruit – Cabernet Sauvignon works best) with various spices, fruits and sometimes slightly sweetened with honey. Popular blends include cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus, vanilla, anise, cloves, raisins or pears. Despite its high sugar content, mulled wine is not a drink that ages well.
Historically Pubs who make their own usually make a rather thin alternative to mulled wine that was once designed to show off the wealth and generosity in Medevial times. Indeed a cookery book published about 1390 first highlight the potential benefits of a warming drink. With a recipe which included cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom and grains of paradise itwas more overpowering and medicinal than it was enjoyable
what all of these recipes show is that the mulled wine is a basic drink. Not much finesse , not much elegance but a pleasant spiced alcoholic drink merely for warming the soul.Because of its basic Nature it can never command an expensive price and is therefore great in Winter for people to enjoy a drink with friends.
Searcy’s Champagne Bar in St Pancreas currently holds the world record for the highest cost per glass (Click here for link to find out more ! )
Franz Settner and Son 5 Euro
Outstanding Value !!
Screaming eagle 1992 £500,000
Although a person who mixes spices with this scarce Cabernet is a brave person!!!
The Franz Stettner & Sohn firm is one of the largest distilleries in Bavaria. Everything began with a bottle of lemon liqueur on 12 July 1949. Since then, the firm has passed into the hands of its third generation, with premises of over 40,000 m², its own transport fleet of 23 trucks, a warehouse with a capacity of over three million litres, and six fully automated filling lines. In our selection, you will find the most diverse fruit brandies and liqueurs, distinguished wines, as well as sparkling wines, Champagnes, Federweisser, mulled wines, and fruit and honey wines. Our self-produced, alcohol-free range includes fruit juices, spritzers, refreshment drinks and mixers, energy drinks, iced tea, mineral and table waters, and syrups and of course mulled wine
How to make the perfect mulled wine
Makes about 12 servings
2 unwaxed oranges
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
150ml ginger wine
1. Peel and juice 1 orange, and add to a large saucepan along with the lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until you have a thick syrup.
2. Meanwhile, if you’re serving the mulled wine immediately, stud the second orange with 6 vertical lines of cloves, and then cut into segments to use as a garnish.
3. Turn the heat down, and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan, along with the ginger wine. Gently heat through and serve with the orange segments as a garnish. Alternatively, you can allow the syrup to cool, and pour it into sterilised bottles for use at a later date.
Is mulled wine a guaranteed spirit raiser, or by far the worst thing about Christmas – Slade and paper hats included? What do you put in your own festive punch – or what would you prefer to be offered instead?
AUSTRIA goes gaga for Glühwein
Means: “Glowing Wine”. A steaming staple drink of ski resorts and Christmas markets nationwide.
Classic ingredients: Lemon juice + sugar + cloves + cinnamon sticks + orange + vanilla + wine (make it a bottle of Blaufränkisch to keep the whole thing Austrian).
ITALY brews bellissimo Vin Brule
Means: Simply “Mulled Wine”
Classic ingredients: Nutmeg + sugar + cloves + cinnamon + lemon peel + apple + wine (something full bodied and fruity, like a Piedmont Nebbiolo).
NORWAY does glugs of gorgeous Gløgg
Means: From “glödgad vin” = “glowing, hot wine”
Classic ingredients: Orange + raisins + cardamoms + cloves + ginger + almonds + cinnamon + dash of Muscatel/Port + wine (a dry red, like a Svenska from neighbouring Sweden).
FRANCE says Vive la Vin Chaud
Means: “Hot Wine”
Classic ingredients: Cinnamon + orange zest + sugar + cloves + cardamom + cheeky splash of cognac + wine (go for a good old red vin de france).
SLOVENIA snuggles up with mugs of Kuhano Vino
Means: “Boiled wine”
Classic ingredients: Clementines + lemon + orange + nutmeg + star anise + cinnamon + cloves + wine (there are some super Slovenian Merlots like Quercus).
FINLAND has glorious Glögi
Means: “Glow Wine”
Classic ingredients: Blanched almonds + berries + raisins + cinnamon + sugar + cloves + fruit juice (grape / orange / blackberry) + wine (maybe a Scandi merlot).
Recommended grape varieties:
Fruity red wines are especially suitable for making a good Glühwein. By heating the wine the aromas which are often reminiscent of red fruit are particularly strongly expressed and create a wonderful harmony with the seasoning ingredients.
Red wine varieties that go well with the spices include Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja Crianza and a Merlot. Grape varieties that either have black or red fruit with little tannins and little oak will work well. Pinot noir is especially worth a try. Even go for a German Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).
So today is mulled wine day in most countries. even if it isn’t who needs an excuse to try a variation on any of the above recipes. Give it a try. Enjoy the warming drink , sniff the aromas and have fun.