HOT MULLED WINE
Makes 8 servings
1 quart (1 liter) hearty red wine (from the Languedoc or the Côtes du Rhône)
1/4 to 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 thin coins fresh ginger
About 3 tbsp slivered almonds, for garnish
Put all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Let the wine heat until it is giving off steam, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. When sugar is dissolved, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it sit. Ten minutes before you are ready to serve it, put 1 teaspoon of slivered almonds in each of 8 glasses. Reheat the wine until it is very warm, but not boiling. Divide it among the glasses and serve.
If you want a larger quantity, you may triple the amount of wine without increasing any of the spices except the ginger, which you’ll also want to triple. You’ll need to adjust the sugar according to taste.
Susan Herrmann Loomis teaches cooking classes in Normandy and Paris. www.onruetatin.com. The latest of her ten books, Nuts in the Kitchen, is published by HarperCollins. Find it in the France Today Bookstore.
Originally published in the December 2011 issue of France Today