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                                                               Holiday Libations and Celebrations

Bob Pastorio shares some recipes for holiday  cheer - thanks for your inspiration and expertise, Pastorio!

Mulled Wine - Version 1

1 bottle wine - 750 ml
zest and juice of 1/2 orange
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brandy
6 to 8 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Pour the wine into a non-reactive saucepan over low heat. Peel the zest of half an orange and add to the wine. Squeeze juice in. Add remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally. When the wine begins to steam, serve in mugs or glasses.

Use stainless steel, ceramic, heat proof glass or nonstick coated pot to mull the wine in. The acids in the wine can react with aluminum and give the final product a metallic taste and off-color.


Mulled Wine - Version 2

Less sweet than the one above, this one has a rather different flavor profile. It can be made more sweet if desired.

1 bottle red wine - 750 ml
3-4 tablespoons demerara sugar or light brown sugar
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 dried bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
grated nutmeg (up to 1/4 teaspoon)
1/8 cup sloe gin (optional)

Put the wine in a saucepan with all, but the sloe gin. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add more sugar to taste. Off the heat, stir in the sloe gin. Strain into heat proof glasses or mugs and serve at once.

One tasty variation on any HBR recipe is to use apple cider instead of water as the base. Very nice.
 


 Hot Buttered Rum Batter Recipe

This is a pre-mix to be stored in the fridge and brought out to make individual drinks.

1 pound brown sugar
1/2 pound salted butter - 2 sticks - melted
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients and store in refrigerator. To make a drink: stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of batter to a mug of very hot water. Add a shot of good dark rum, stirring to combine. Serve in Irish coffee cup.


Hot Buttered Rum Punch Bowl

This can be assembled for a party. A crockpot or beverage chafer set out for guests permits them to help themselves.

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 pinch salt
3 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups rum
heavy cream, whipped
ground nutmeg garnish

Put all ingredients, except rum, cream, and nutmeg garnish into crockpot or chafer. Add 2 quarts near-boiling water. Stir well. Cover pot and hold over low-medium temperatures for at least an hour to extract flavor from the ingredients. Add rum; stir to blend. Serve from pot in warm mugs with a generous dab of whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.


Hot Cider                                                                  

No real recipe here, just considerations. The usual suspects for flavoring are cinnamon, cloves, and for the wild children, maybe a couple slices of fresh ginger. Heat apple cider with flavorings in a saucepan to just below a boil, and pour/ladle into mugs.

Some different ways to enhance the cider:

            - Use red candy cinnamon imperials instead of ground cinnamon or sticks. (Ground cinnamon can make a rather unpleasant-looking flotsam/jetsam mess, so I donít use it.)

            - Add a splash of Applejack, cinnamon schnapps, peach schnapps or some combination.

            - Drop in a small, dried chili pepper.

            - Add a few drops of caramel flavoring.

            - Stir in some apple jelly, strawberry jelly, seedless raspberry jelly or some combination.

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