Monday, February 28, 2011

MxMo LV: Pear Spice Mulled Wine

Whenever I have parties and I do hot drinks, I always make at least one batch of mulled wine, and it's always a big hit. Since this month's Mixology Monday theme (selected by yours truly) is Some Like it Hot, I thought I'd take a stab at an original mulled wine.

At first I thought of doing an apple mulled wine, since apple and spices go so well together, but some poking about on the internets revealed that lots of other people had already beat me to it. So why not...a pear mulled wine?

Pear Spice Mulled Wine
1 bottle red wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 pear, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pear nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 whole anise star
12 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 orange, cut into slices

Combine all the ingredients in an appropriately-sized pot. Cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Verdict: Winner. Delicious, spicy, fruity. I found myself completely unable to stop drinking it. And after you've drunk all the wine, the pears make for a delicious and dangerously addictive snack.

And, just because I can't leave well enough alone, I decided to try something really innovative: a mulled wine with...balsamic vinegar? Yeah, you heard that right. Some cursory google searches indicated that balsamic vinegar, pears and cinnamon might be good together, so I gave it a whirl.

Balsamic Pear Mulled Wine
1 bottle red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup eau-de-vie poire william
1 pear, cored and sliced
1/2 orange, cut into slices
4 cinnamon sticks

Verdict: This is really, really interesting, and not in an entirely bad way. The balsamic and pear flavors complement one another and bring out the nuances in each. I can't help thinking, though, that this would probably better as a sangria. As in, it smelled awfully good before I cooked it for half an hour. Come summer, you can bet I'll be trying this one again.

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