November 17, 2010

We Toast the Harvest!

The Maine House always prepares a few special holiday drinks to welcome family on Thanksgiving day! Many times in the past years, Thanksgiving day was beautiful and quiet.....as everyone arrived, we took our mugs of mulled wine and made our way down to the gazebo as we watched grandchildren play, relax and share our memories, before the bustling of the dinner preparation began. Has this been the custom from long ago?

Can you envision very old days, when you enter the old town square and your senses are overwhelmed by the aromas floating in the autumn air of roasting chestnuts, spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice, roasting turkeys and chickens......a few facts on this custom.....

Mulled wine, variations of which are popular around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Glühwein is popular in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in France.
 It is the traditional beverage offered and drunk on Weihnachtsmärkten. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. Fruit wines such as blueberry wine and cherry wine are rarely used instead of grape wine in Germany. Glühwein is drunk pure or "mit Schuss", which means there is rum or liqueur added. The French name is vin chaud (hot wine).

Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries; in Swedish and Icelandic: Glögg, Norwegian and Danish: Gløgg, Finnish and Estonian: Glögi). The main classic ingredients are red wine, sugar or syrup, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy.

And The British.........
A traditional recipe can be found in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869: 1961.-TO MULL WINE.

INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.
Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.

Estelle's Mulled Wine
2 naval oranges
1 fresh lemon, juice and zest
10 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 cardamon pods
4 whole star anis
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar (to taste)
2 (750 ml) bottles of dry red wine (not cabernet which is too tannic)
3/4 cup brandy

Zest the citrus and squeeze into a large pot. Add all remaining ingredients stirring until the sugar is dissolved over low to medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. This will reduce in volume. Pour the mulled wine through a fine sieve into tempered glass coffee mugs.

Hot Buttered Apple Rum Cider
8 cups apple cider
1/3 cup honey
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
peel of one lemon, cut into strips
1 1/2 cups rum

In a large pot heat apple cider, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and lemon peel. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Carefully pour hot liquid through a fine sieve, removing spices and lemon peel. Return liquid to pot and stir in rum.To serve, ladle warm drink into cups.
Top each with about ½ teaspoon of butter.

"So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart."
~Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

No comments:

Post a Comment

I so love receiving your thoughts and comments. I also hope you found something that made you smile.