Well, we have traveled from Tokyo to Seattle to Salt Lake City and finally to Denver, Colorado where we will be spending Christmas with my husband’s family. The jet lag has subsided (mostly) and we have been frantically shopping, wrapping, and soaking in our short time together. All is going as expected, aside from the fact that Denver is not the winter wonderland we were hoping for. Apparently all the snow is stuck elsewhere. Bummer. It’s funny because the mountains are within view and everyday we have seen the low clouds that are dumping huge amounts of the white stuff just 20 minutes away. It’s so close I can practically feel the sweet snow flakes melting on my tongue. I guess we’ll have to wait until we travel to Minnesota to experience the bright white beauty of winter. Still, the Christmas spirit has managed to wrap us in its warmth and wonder, just like it did last year.
While we pray for snow, we are sipping away on mulled wine. I made a recipe for mulled wine with Japanese citrus (yuzu and mikan) when we were still in Tokyo. The flavors are deep from the spices, bright from the citrus, and warming from the heat. And the recipe will be appearing in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper on Christmas Eve! If you can’t find yuzu or mikan, substitute them with 1 lemon and 1 clementine. You’ll get a very similar effect.
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the holidays no matter where in world you find yourself. Cheers!
Mulled Wine with Japanese Citrus
1 (750 mL) bottle red wine, like a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or a peppery Zinfandel
¼ cup Japanese Whiskey or Brandy
6 whole cloves (or 1 teaspoon ground cloves)
4 black peppercorns (or ½ teaspoon ground black pepper)
3 cinnamon sticks (or 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon), plus extra for garnish
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 fresh yuzu, peeled and juiced (peel and juice reserved, seeds discarded)
1 mikan, peeled and juiced (peel and juice reserved, seeds discarded)
⅓ cup honey, plus extra to taste
*Note: If you use ground spiced, seal them in a coffee filter so the grounds don’t float around in the wine.
Begin by wrapping the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, ginger, and citrus peels in cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie the satchel closed and place in a large pot. Add the wine, whiskey, citrus juices and honey. Place the pot over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil! (If it boils, the flavor of the wine will change too drastically.) Keep an eye on the mulled wine as it cooks, stirring often to ensure the honey dissolves completely. Watch for steam to start rising off of the wine to signal that it is ready to serve. *Tip: To keep the mulled wine warm longer, pour hot water into the glasses you are going to use to serve the wine. Just before adding the mulled wine, pour out the water and add the wine.