(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The advent calendar is counting down the days until Santa brings me a cellar stocked with wine treasures! To seal my “good girl” status with the old man, I’m preparing him a trio of wine cocktails to ensure he remains merry and bright. Here are the recipes, in case you need them, too.
Gluhwein (Austrian Mulled Wine)
I first experienced Gluhwein a few Christmases ago—prepared by a true Austrian! I was enamored by the scent wafting through the house, and assumed it would taste like a hot Capri Sun. To my delight, it’s heavenly and perfect for family gatherings around the football game. I envision Santa propping his feet up by the fire.
- 2 bottles of tasty red, such as a Washington State red blend or Bordeaux for about $10 to $15 each
- 2 cups water
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 5 ounces organic sugar, or a bit over 2/3 cup
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 peeled oranges cut into bite-sized pieces
- Additional orange slices for garnish
Put all ingredients into a pot and slowly bring to a boil. Once boiling, add orange pieces. Let the contents simmer for a bit, then remove the spices. Garnish each serving with additional orange slices.
The Sparkling Partridge
This tasty drink will delight your guests and get the party started with its dash of pear brandy. Your can enjoy the Sparkling Partridge in a flute glass, but I think a brandy snifter is more Santa’s style.
- 1 ounce or thereabouts of pear brandy
- 5 ounces sparkling wine (don’t buy cheap, sweet sparkling. You’ll enjoy it more if you use a quality bubbly like Jean Philippe Brut for $10 or Saint-Hilaire for $12. Both are from the Limoux region in France and available online or in local wine shops)
- 1 tablespoon whole berry preserves, such as blackberry or blueberry
Slowly pour the sparkling wine over the brandy so it doesn’t bubble over. Then gently roll in the preserves. Serve.
The Cranky Mommy (or Herbal Wine Hot Toddy)
While this doesn’t seem as festive, odds are good Santa has a cold, is exhausted, and in a holiday zombie state like the rest of us. I’ve been sick since Thanksgiving and bored with cold meds and wholesome tea. This wine toddy helped me actually breathe and interact somewhat pleasantly with my family. This will give Santa the mojo he needs to handle the reindeer for the final deliveries.
- 1 tea bag of fruit-based herbal tea like Red Zinger
- 6 ounces boiling water
- 2-to-3 ounces, or 4-to-5 ounces red wine (I grabbed the nearest open bottle and poured, freely)
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- Wee bit of honey to taste.
Add the boiling water to the red wine, lemon juice, and honey. Let the tea bag steep for 2-to-3 minutes.