Adventures in Wine Mulling

By , December 8, 2009

Michelle and I like wine, so it makes sense for us to try to make our own. We’ve tried twice so far with wild fruits; the success hasn’t been stunning. However, neither batch was a total loss. The latest less-than-stellar attempt has just been transformed through the Magic of Christmas! And mulling spices . . . .

Michelle made rose hip wine last summer. It didn’t turn out well, but then, I’ve never tasted a rose hip wine I really liked. It had a strong element of what we can only describe as “acetone . . . .” She added some raisins to it at one point, and that helped a little. We’d have a small glass of it every great once in awhile. Sipped sparingly, we darned it with faint praise like, “It’s not that bad!”

Then Christmas came.

We have mulling spices that we use in wine or apple cider. These spices have lasted for years, because it’s easy to dry the packet after it’s used; the spices are long lasting enough that, if properly dried and stored, one “charge” can be used many times.

Michelle had gone out to the shed for something the other day, and returned with a container of spices. We got excited about mulling wine, and before long the day came when we decided to do it. She opened the container, and caught herself—the spices weren’t a mulling mix but a pickling mix! That was a close one!

We dug our tin of mulling spices out of the Christmas boxes, and she mulled some of the rose hip wine, and some cider for Aly. We joked with her that if the rose hip wine didn’t work out, we’d be promptly moving in on her batch.

One sip, and we shared an astonished grin—it tasted wonderful! She had sweetened the mixture with white sugar according to the package directions, as that would change the flavor the least, but the resulting drink tasted strongly of brown sugar. It was almost like maple sugar. It tasted sweet, spicy, and rosy. All of the “acetone” had cooked off, apparently.

So, add yet another hot drink to the menu at the Zeiger homestead this Christmas! And, thankfully, another less-than-successful experiment has turned into a genuine treat.

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