Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mulling over Mulled Wine

There is so much I could write about now, and anytime for that matter – I’d love to write more often, but am quite busy with work and other commitments (called life! ; ) – especially lately, as there have been some interesting occurrences.

You could say I have been mulling about my next blog posting after the last one, including whether to write about mulled wine, something totally and completely different for a (pardon-the pun, refreshing) change.

I truly have been pondering over mulled wine aka (also known as) Gluhwein, pronounced glue-vine) since drinking this concoction at the Vancouver Christmas Market (http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com/) last December. (I really think they should change the name of this market, though situated in Vancouver, as it is a German-based market.)

Gluh wine or Gluhwein (in German) translates more or less to "glow wine" apparently from the hot irons once used for mulling – what is that?! – and the effect of the wine: it makes you glow inside.

It is a mulled wine or (European alcoholic) cider (not apple juice), a beverage popular in German-speaking countries (such as Austria); is usually made with red wine along with various spices, citrus and sugar; served hot or warm; alcoholic (with a shot of rum or other liquor) or non-alcoholic; and is a traditional drink during winter, especially around the Christmas holidays.

In the Netherlands (where I was born), it is known as bisschopswijn (literally "bishop's wine"), though I am not familiar with it. It is made using oranges rather than lemons and is a typical drink during the Sinterklaas holidays (the Dutch version of Santa Claus who looks like a bishop). (Info from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

Walking outdoors at the Christmas market downtown warranted a little – or perhaps a lot – of something to keep the chill at bay, and Gluhwein was the perfect answer. I was grateful for it as it warmed up my innards reflected by my rosy (or glowing) cheeks.

Having tasted a sample of mulled cider during a Christmas tree festival at the nearby Nourish Market (www.nourishmarket.ca) in North Vancouver made me curious enough to ask for the recipe. So I asked. And it is simple to make.

You can check online for various recipes though I used sweet apple juice, citrus fruit (of oranges, lemons, and limes) as well as spices (cinnamon, cloves, and the like).

For my recent birthday, I celebrated with a friend at Jagerhof, a restaurant specializing in Austrian/German food where I ordered their GluhWein. Delicious! I highly recommend it along with the Weiner Schnitzel, a traditional Austrian meal (though my Mom who is from this homeland used to make it with veal).

Next time, I’ll make the alcoholic version! Prost! (German) or Proost! (Dutch) (A European toast pronounced ‘Prohst’)

What is something different you have tried recently?

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