Phew – half of winter gone! Only another six weeks left before it’s officially spring folks. I can’t believe how it’s rushing by. But six weeks is still plenty of time to indulge in the finer things winter offers – like the chance to cosy up in front of the fire with glühwein. For its ability to warm you up rosy-red nose to tail, few things beat red wine gently kissed with fabulous spice.
I keep mine simple, adding only cloves, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon for spice. When it comes to making glühwein I have only three rules: 1) Give the spice plenty of time to infuse. 2) Never, ever let the wine come to the boil and, 3) use reasonably good wine. The bottom-line of glühwein is that wine is the major ingredient – and no amount of spice will disguise a rubbish wine. I’m not advocating 4-star Platter stuff. Just something that is pleasant to drink before it has anything added to it. There are loads of pocket-friendly wines to consider for glühwein. Perdeberg’s Soft Smooth Red is one of my glühwein favourites, so too the Juicy Red from Woolies. Whatever red wine you pick, do indulge in this warming treat before winter’s end.
All you need is…
2 star anise
4 cardamom pods, gently crushed open with the back of a knife
3 cinnamon sticks
½ cup of water
zest and juice of two oranges
¼ cup sugar (if you like it quite sweet, add a few extra tablespoons of sugar)
750ml bottle of red wine
Add all the ingredients except the wine to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a good 5-10 minutes to give the spices a chance to infuse. Then add the red wine. Keep it on a very gentle heat for a further 20 minutes. Take care not to boil it. You want to keep it just below simmer point, so watch it like a hawk. Strain and serve warm decorated with cinnamon sticks for the pretty and a slice of orange.