Next up in our 12 Tastes of Christmas series is Daphne Oz — author of one of the best lifestyle books of the year, soon-to-be first-time mom and let’s be honest: one of my biggest girl crushes. (who could forget our Entertaining With feature? So stunning.) This is a gal who certainly knows how to relish every moment of the holiday season, and I, for one, can’t think of a better way to do it than by spending an evening curled up by the fire with a steaming cup of her spiced winter wine. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, Daphne… I have a feeling it’s destined to become a new holiday tradition at our house!
*photography by Ellen Silverman
From Daphne: My mom is one of six siblings. When we all descend on my grandparents’ farm in Pennsylvania for the holidays, there are about 30 of us under one roof ranging from a year old to 70+ – I’ll let you imagine how nuts it can get! We have so much fun cooking up a million meals – my grandfather’s famous stuffed artichokes, my grandmother’s hearty soups and stews, my mother’s delicious breakfasts (pancakes! eggs and biscuits! popovers!), and I throw in a healthy dose of sweet tooth desserts, perfect for holiday indulging. We’re the type of clan who plans dinner at lunch and breakfast at dinner. Clearly, we love to eat…and clearly, the holidays are no time for dieting!
To get everyone out of the house for a bit, we’ll play giant games of Oz Family Football – we’re a competitive group, but this is (usually) about good, clean fun…we save the true rivalries for raucous board games after dinner. When we all come piling in from the freezing outdoors and crowd around a roaring fire, there’s always creamy hot chocolate for the kids, and a delicious pot of this simmering mulled wine or cider wafting cinnamon, orange and vanilla for the adults – of course, I’ll be sticking with the non-alcoholic version this year :). For me, celebrating these traditions with family is the perfect way to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
Spiced Winter Wine
(for those of you looking to skip the alcohol, apple cider works great in place of wine in this recipe! If you use cider and want to put the alcohol back in, serve the mugs with a shot of bourbon!)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- One 1-inch piece fresh peeled ginger, sliced into 4 rounds
- 6 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped
- Zest and juice from 1 orange
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- Two 750 ml bottles red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, or Chianti work well) or apple cider
- In a large saucepan, combine the syrup, 2 of the cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom pods, vanilla bean, and orange zest and juice. Heat over medium heat to boiling, then immediately turn off the heat, cover, and set aside 10 minutes to steep. Add the lemon rounds and steep 2 minutes more. Add the wine and heat over medium-low heat until simmering, taking care not to boil.
- Strain and divide among 6 heat-proof mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.
DASH: I love to serve these on a tray decorated with a sprinkling of cardamom pods—the aroma is intoxicating!