Christmas mulled wine

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Bing Crosby ringing in your ears. Yuletide carols sung by a choir, folks dressed up like Eskimos—Christmas, season for loving nostalgia.

Mulled wine is way to warm the cockles of your nostalgic heart. At its simplest, mulled wine is red wine combined with spices and sugar/honey, served warm.

Long ago, people mulled to disguise wine gone bad. Today, serve mulled wine because it is delicious and evokes traveling to your great grandparent’s home in a one-horse open sleigh. You remember doing that, of course.

Like summer counterpart sangria, marinating various ingredients is the secret to mulled wine: 24 hours-plus for sangria, five-plus hours for mulled wine. Both are ideal for making early so you can concentrate on everything else. Bonus: mulled wine adds splendid holiday aroma.

• 1/2 cup water
• 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
• 1/4 cup pulpy orange juice
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground allspice
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 2/3 cup of brown sugar (or honey)
• 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, thinly sliced, cut into bite-size pieces
• Zest of one orange
• Orange, sectioned, cut into bite-size pieces
• One 750 ml bottle red wine (Cab, Merlot, Zin)
• 1/2 cup of brandy or cognac

Put ginger, allspice, cloves in cheesecloth bag. Put ingredients except brandy/cognac in crock pot. Heat five or more hours; the longer you heat, the more the flavors marinate and the better it tastes.

Add brandy when ready to serve.

Double to serve more, second apple optional.

Ladle into mugs with orange/apple slices per mug. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.