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December 26, 2012

Howard Hewitt: Mulled wine may help warm the evening

A drink doesn’t always warm the soul and any health guide will tell you alcohol will not keep you warm.

But if you’re locked inside during the heavy snow, something nice and warm to drink might make the blizzard seem less bothersome.

If you have a bottle of red wine in the house and a few basic spices, you are all set to make warm, mulled wine.

A dark fruity red wine will work best. If you are a big red wine drinker try a fruit-driven Zinfandel or Syrah/Shiraz. Any good Indiana Concord grape wine works great as well.

The fun thing about making mulled wine is you can pick the ingredients you like. A basic recipe for a bottle of red wine would include a small amount of sugar (to taste, if needed), a hint of lemon or orange juice, cloves and cinammon.

Get out the sauce pan (no aluminum!) and heat up the wine over low heat. Slowly add your spices and other liquids. Do not let the wine come to a boil. Alcohol will reach the boiling point much quicker than water.

Let the ingredients get friendly for 10-15 minutes until it steams. Pour the mulled wine into mugs with an orange or lemon slice, add a cinammon stick if you have one, and you have a warm evening drink that will delight.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with your mulled wine concoction. Just taste your warm winter evening beverage as you try different ingredients.

It won’t get the sidewalk shoveled, but you’ll care less about the snow!

Howard Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes a regular every other week column on value wine for The Herald-Bulletin and 20 other Midwestern newspapers. He also is a contributor to Madison Magazine.

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