Vin Brulé: the cure for gray days

Along with acqua alta, roasted chestnuts, and ladies bundled in furs that arrive with the onset of winter in Venice, you’ll also find Vin Brulé in abundance: offered by bars, vendors along light-strung calli, and at holiday gatherings. It’s also the perfect thing to combat steely gray skies by filling your home with the scents of the season.

There are infinite variations, but here’s a recipe I was given, served up a recent holiday gathering, where everyone arrived with umbrellas and stivali (boots), and where the mulled wine really hit the spot. It can be adjusted according to your own taste:
To a liter of dry red wine (choose one with a bit of body – corposo) and even a bit of Port if you like, add:

  • half-dozen cloves
  • couple of cinnamon sticks
  • a bit nutmeg
  • tart apple slices, such as granny smith
  • perhaps some orange, or orange peel (avoid lemon peel, which can turn bitter)
  • sugar to taste (I’m going to try it with raw sugar)

Combine all the ingredients and stir till the sugar is melted; bring it to a boil. Light the alcohol that rises from the top to burn it off; lower the temp to keep it warm. Serve to appreciative guests.

Making another batch this evening…if I come up with any insights, I’ll pass them along.

Or if you have some, feel free to share!

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