Monthly Archives: February 2011


I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it snowed in San Francisco for the first time in 30 plus years — it passed without much media coverage, so its understandable if the rest of the country hadn’t heard.  Regardless of the reality that a fleeting dusting of snow doesn’t hold a candle to the Snowmageddon that’s hit the Northeast and MidWest since shortly after the cranberry sauce ran out, there has been a touch of very un-California chill in the air lately.

All of which makes this month’s Mixology Monday really timely.   Host Nancy at Backyard Bartender has chosen Some Like It Hot – as her theme:

“Make anything you want to, as long as it’s served hot. I’m sure this is tremendously seasonally appropriate in parts of the country that are not Houston, where it is currently 79 degrees. Don’t pretend you’re not jealous.”

While not sub-zero outside, it’s also far from a Houstonian seventy-nine either.  A warm drink is just the right thing to take the chill out of the fingertips and toes tonight.  The great thing about Scandinavian mulled wine is that you can make a large batch of the stuff, store it in a glass jug in the back of a dark cupboard, and weeks later it tastes even better.  The sharpness of the fresh cardamom and cloves mellows out allowing the orange and cinnamon to poke through.  This recipe also calls for carmelizing sugar in brandy.   I’ve seen some that use vodka but I find the flambeed brandy tastes far superior.  So much that these go down like pure crackulated candy – before you know it, you are positively knackered.  And wondering if you just saw a talking Snowman sneaking nips out of your liquor cabinet with a couple of Keebler elves.

1 bottle red wine
1 bottle ruby port
1/2 bottle brandy
8 – 10 cinnamon sticks
2 dozen whole cloves
orange peel (one whole orange)
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbs cardamom seeds (from whole green cardamom pods – about 18 pods)
1 cup almonds, whole, blanched
2 cups sugar

1. In large pot, heat wine, port wine, spices, peel, and raisins. DO NOT BOIL.
2. In saucepan, combine sugar and brandy.  Heat slowly and stir until golden brown syrup. Light and flambe.
3. Add carmelized syrup to wine pot.  Cover and mull for 1.5 to 2 hours.
4.  Serve hot in handled glass mugs.