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making spirits 
bright classic winter holiday drinks by Yee-Fan Sun |
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Looking for a festive way to toast the holiday season? Serve up one of these classic holiday drinks…

mulled wine
There's nothing like the spicy smell of mulling spices (in this case, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) wafting through the air to really get you into the cozy winter spirit. Make up a big batch, ladle into mugs, sip slowly, and breathe deeply -- enjoying mulled wine is as much about the luxurious aroma as it is about the yummy taste.

2 bottles of fruity red wine, nothing too complex (cheap is fine)
5 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 big oranges
2 small lemons
˝ cup sugar, or to taste

yields about 6-8 mugs' worth

1 Slice up the oranges and lemons; reserve some orange slices for garnish.
2 Pour the wine into a big pot; add the spices and fruit. Bring the mixture just until small bubbles form at the surface, then bring the heat down low so the liquid's barely steaming. (You don't want to boil off all the alcohol.) Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the sugar and cook until dissolved, another couple of minutes or so. Taste; if the spices haven't permeated enough to your liking, you can turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let things stew until you're happy with the flavor. Strain, re-warm as necessary, and serve, garnishing with the remaining orange slices.

mulled cider
You can use the same spice mix as for the mulled wine (minus the sugar -- I generally find the cider adds enough sweetness on its own), but here's another version that's equally tasty.

1/2 gallon of apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
2 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
zest from one whole orange, plus the juice (basically, you're just discarding the bitter white pith)

yields about 6-8 mugs' worth

1 Use a veggie peeler to shave off the orange zest. Halve the naked orange and squeeze out the juice.
2 Pour the cider in a pot and add the spices, zest and orange juice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately lower the heat so that the liquid gently bubbles. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, until the spices have seeped in. Taste; if the mixture seems too potent, add water as needed. Strain and serve warm.

amble this way please

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