President's Day — that's a holiday, really? I never remember that I'm off work to honor our leaders until the Friday before. So we never make plans for the long weekend, we just relish the sweet surprise of an extra day. Which is nice considering (a) it usually falls near Valentine's Day, (b) our anniversary is two days before that and (c) it's February in Chicago and good for hibernating at home. Which also means a few pots of tea will be poured. And a few cocktails. One of our favorite wintertime treats actually marries the two tastes.
It's called glogg, aka mulled wine, or spiced wine. The spouse is of Swedish decent, so when the goblet is raised here, we call for glogg. This weekend, in fact, we enjoyed a bottle of Vin Glögg from the nearby Glunz Family Winery in Illinois. It's beautiful, smooth stuff with a base of red wine and supplemented with port (!), citrus oils, nut oils, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. Does that mix of spices sound familiar, tea lovers? That's why I call it "chai wine."
In fact, when I've made my own glogg before, I add black tea It really rounds out the flavor and gives the brew a bit of heft. Here's my time-worn recipe I have scrawled in my bar book (alas, unattributed):
1 bottle or merlot or cabarnet
1 cup orange juice
zest of lemon and orange
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tea bags (a basic orange pekoe will do)
Add everything except the tea to a saucepan. Simmer about 10 minutes (let it steam, but don't boil it). Remove the pan from the heat and drop in the tea bags. Steep 5-10 minutes. Strain and serve.