Monday, December 13, 2010

Glühwein mit Schuss: Mulled Wine with a Shot of Apple Brandy (and a Big Thank You)

 Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog.  - George Gordon, Lord Byron

Since Pete died on November 28, I haven't felt much like blogging. Or cooking ... or cleaning ... or working .. or getting out of bed much. You understand. In my life I have lost both friends and family, and so I know too well that losing someone - in this case your best friend - changes you and leaves a hole in your heart that nothing ever fills. You just have to figure out how to be the new you, and still be a good you. 

Death is part of life, and I am determined to somehow not become fatally bitter about it (a little bitter is okay). One thing that has helped is the incredible - and sincere - support I have felt from the blogging community. Some of you left sweet comments about it, some of you sent me notes - and Poppa Trix and I truly and deeply appreciate it. It means so much to know that other people understand what you're going through.

Thanks, you guys. 

But I am not naturally a sentimental creature, and so of course another thing that helps me keep the blues and the bitterness at bay is a good stiff drink.  So I figured it would only be fitting that my first post since writing about Pete's death would be a potent potable.  

Glühwein - or mulled wine - posts are all over the interwebs at the moment. After all, these spiced Germanic drinks are seasonal ways to warm the body and soul. For  my version, I incorporated some Asian spices and took a cue from the Austrian tradition of adding ein Schuss, or a shot, of extra liquor, to the drink. Rather than go with Schnapps, I chose apple brandy at the suggestion of Dave Newman of Wells Liquors, my trusty liquor purveyor.  (Some people turn to priests or psychiatrists, I turn to my liquor purveyor.) 

You'll need:
One 1.5 L bottle of full-bodied red wine, such as a Cabernet or Zweigelt

The skin of a tangerine, orange, or Clementine:

1/2 cup honey (I used a spicy buckwheat honey)

Spices, to taste:
I used (clockwise from top left) cinnamon sticks, star anise, Szechuan peppers, cardamom pods, cloves, and allspice berries
Warm the honey and spices over medium low heat, and then add the wine and citrus peel. Slowly heat the whole mixture, stirring occasionally, but don't let it boil. Taste for sweetness, and add more honey or sugar if you like. I let the wine gently sizzle at low heat for about 15 minutes (don't want to cook off all the alcohol!), turned off the heat, put on a lid,  and let it steep until the spices had suffused the wine to my taste. Next I strained it to remove all the spices, and gently reheated before serving.

Of course the real piece de resistance is that shot of apple brandy added to the glass:
If that doesn't warm you up, you may want to consider the possibility that you're a zombie. Just a thought. 

Until next time ... happy quaffing. 





33 comments:

  1. Little by little... time heals the wounds...

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  2. Thinking of you.

    This looks like a perfect drink.

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  3. Take the time you need.

    And a great mulled wine recipe, and the ein Schuss makes me proud of my half Austrian blood too lol. That is funny because last night I had an evening out at a friend's and he served me Apple Jack (JD and apple bubbly, not the bottle). What a coincidence.

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  4. this looks wonderful, yummy~ hope your feeling better, you may need to drink that bottle to feel better :)

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  5. I am at work right now (ok ok I shouldn't be reading your blog) but I am going to go home and make this. Have another drink sweetie pie. You deserve it.

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  6. it was so nice of you to share this delicious drink while still healing. thanks for coming back to let us know you're still taking things days by day. i, too, would be knee deep in this drink. i like the additional spiciness you added for a richer depth of flavor. i might just have to test this out soon. love and hugs.

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  7. Sounds like a great drink; one to try after the pregnancy;)

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  8. I wonder what my great grand-mother who considered herself an Austrian subject, would have thought of this; I am proud of you for coming up with this potable and glad that despite that profound grief that you are experiencing your humor is back.
    And your photos are beautiful too.

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  9. I want some mulled wine right now!!

    Trix, I am so sorry for your loss. It's so brave of you to find the courage to blog again. Life will have to go on (with the help of some wine). Let me know if you need to talk.
    Sending much love your way. God bless you!

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  10. beautifully spiced wine. time will heal but slowly. we are all here :)

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  11. Raising a virtual glass of this to the great Pete xox And Penny is right - we're all here for you and will wait if you don't feel like blogging or cooking for a while. Hugs xoxo

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  12. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Pete! Loss is always difficult, but he lived a good life and was surrounded by love! I am glad to have a chance to known you through your blog and hope that it continues to be a comfort to you.

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved Jack! As you say, grief takes some time, a few days wandering around the house with no real purpose in mind, that kind of thing. I've lost both my Dad and a loving dog in the past couple of years. Grief is profound, who ever it is you're mourning.

    But a drink always helps...I think we'll all join you in a virtual toast to Jack, and to all the best friends out there. Theresa

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  14. i am so sorry for your loss...thank you for sharing your story with us. *hugs*

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  15. Wow, Trix! Your pics are soooo gorgeous! Please, keep posting your beautiful recipes!
    I hope you can find a new great dog.

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  16. My heart goes out to you and your husband for the loose of Pete. Gluhwein is also very popular in Czech Republic (were I live), though known by a different name. It is our tradition to have a few glasses and some chestnuts at the Christmas market. I really like your version, it sounds so much better.

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  17. I am sorry I called your dog Jack -- that is my friend`s dog who also died over the weekend. Another faithful friend like your Pete! Theresa

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  18. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableDecember 15, 2010 at 3:39 AM

    Hi Trix

    I am so sorry that I found out this late about Pete - he was a gorgeous dog in every sense of the word and yes, he did have a distinctive gait :)

    Hope you are feeling better and a drink now and then, does help. Cheers!

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  19. A wonderfully warming drink, it sounds so good with all the spices! I hope you are doing a little better.

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  20. Thank you everyone for your understanding and well wishes and virtual hugs. It is good to be back blogging; I am finding it somewhat therapeutic.
    @Theresa - Oh please don't feel bad! It was an honest mistake and it's the sentiment that counts.
    @Talita: Hopefully a nice dog will find me when I am ready. : )

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  21. I love Gluwein, especially after visiting Austria last year! It now reminds me of Christmas markets and snow falling :)

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  22. so sorry about Pete I am dreading the day when Sachin my dog passes away

    no words just hugs

    love Rebecca

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  23. Trix, I've thought about you so much wondering how you're doing. Tonight when my sweet hubby picked the last few bites off the chicken so George - my best buddy and 15 yr-old cat - could have some treats I was so touched by this man who never really liked cats but because I love my cats does nice things for them. It's amazing what furry critters do for our lives! So, instead of sending holiday cards or treats to our clients, we make donations. My biggest one was to the Humane Society this year. It's good to see you back blogging. And, you're exactly right, it's therapy. You can tell from all the comments that a lot of folks care! Take care of yourself! Kate

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  24. Hi Trix, I am so sorry for your loss. The photos of Pete are lovingly done and so full of life. Your post is beautiful, your words, photos and the recipe you've shared truly are touching. I hope you're doing better, getting into the holidays and most important feeling like yourself again, take care, Patty

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  25. @Not Quite Nigella: I was in Vienna around Easter, so I experienced the Ostermarkt, but I'd love to drink gluhwein there in the winter someday!
    @ Rebecca: Aw, I know - but just be in the moment, like your dog. That's the best way to enjoy one another
    @Kate: I bet your husband secretly loves your cats!You are right, our pets make us better people. Thanks for thinking of me. : )
    @Patty: I am trying! xoxo

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  26. What a festive drink. It really sounds perfect for the holiday. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  27. So sorry to hear about your doggie. I certainly wish they could live forever. Great photos of Pete - felt like I knew him. Great to have such wonderful memories. Your mulled wine sounds like just what the doctor ordered! :)

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  28. Seems so apt! A potent, flavourful drink, a celebration of Pete's life in a way. It's a difficult time for you and Poppa Trix and we all understand it all to well. It's so good of you to share it all with us and you do know you are in all our thoughts.
    I will hunt down these ingredients and make my own in honour of the two of you and your best friend!!!

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  29. @Mary: Thanks, you as well!
    @Lisa: I wish they could too. And yes, this was perfect medicine.
    @Ruth: What a sweet thought, that's really cool of you!

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  30. My thoughts are still with you Trix xx

    Glögg is one of the things I miss most about living in Sweden (apart from my friends, of course) and I get a bit wistful about it around this time every year. It's just too hot to enjoy it here, dammit. I need to remember it more often when we're in winter!

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  31. Great post. In Sweden we have something similar called Glögg. I just did a post on Glögg and traditions. Love your blog.

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  32. @ Conor & @Delishhh: I think Glogg is next on my list to try!

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