Mulled Wine Recipe

This year, I started experimenting with mulled wine a bit, and now that I've come up with a good recipe, I can't imagine this holiday season without this festive beverage.  Since I've come to be so fond of a good mulled wine, I thought I should share my recipe and tips with you.  So, you'll find the recipe below, but here are some of my favorite tips:
  1. For wine, I prefer the Rhubarb/Raspberry Blend from Forestedge Winery
  2. I prefer to use the Christian Brothers brandy above any others
  3. Add in the cloves slowly, these spices can be a bit overpowering to some people
  4. When in doubt, use Agave over honey.  I don't know why, but it just tastes better
  5. If given the choice between cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon, go with the sticks.  They make the wine taste better, and let's just be honest: they look pretty cool, too.

- 1 bottle of red wine
- 1 peeled and sliced orange
-1/4 cup brandy
-18-20 cloves
-1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
-3 cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-2 tsp ground ginger

All you have to do is combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium until the mixture starts to steam a bit.  Usually, this takes about 20-25 minutes.  Then, you can either strain, or leave the spices in the wine, and serve as is.  Personally, I like to leave the spices in, and allow an orange to float on the surface of each glass as a garnish.  This does leave the wine a bit thicker, but it's a bit like orange juice.  If you like a little pulp, try leaving the spices in; if you don't, I would highly recommend straining the mixture!

As a quick aside, I want to mention that I have tried this recipe with several different wines, and my favorite has been the Rhubarb/Raspberry Blend from Forestedge Winery.  This particular wine may be a bit difficult for some of you to get ahold of, because it's from a teeny tiny town of about 115 people called Laporte in northern Minnesota.  It really is amazing, though, so I would highly recommend at least checking out their website: here.