Tuesday, January 31, 2006


We invited some friends over for dinner this past weekend and they brought the tools and ingredients for this pyrotechnic version of mulled wine. It was literally spectacular and really delicious. The above German term refers to 3 tools you need to make the dish: fire, a metal “pincher” and a bowl. Regina, who hails from Leipzig where people get to partake of this wonderful drink while strolling through the city on winter nights, first prepared what we know of as mulled wine. She heated wine with star anise, cinnamon, cloves, orange and lemon slices and then placed the liquid in a special glass bowl with a lip. She placed a metal bar, specially made with slots to hold the lip of the bowl and holes. On top of that, she placed a special cone of sugar, doused it with warm 45% alcohol rum and lit it aflame. She continued to ladle rum on the sugar cone to create gorgeous blue/orange flames and to eventually melt the sugar. Once all the flaming rum-sugar had fallen through the holes in the metal pincher and into the brew, we got a chance to taste it. I have to say it was the best mulled wine/hot sangria I have ever tasted. Here’s the recipe:

1 bottle red table wine – do NOT break out the vintage Bordeaux on this
3 star anises
3 sticks of flaky Mexican cinnamon
9 whole cloves
½ orange in thin rounds
½ lemon in thin rounds
½ of a large German white sugar cone (if you can find it) OR l cone of Mexican brown sugar panela
½ -1 cup of 45% alcohol rum

Heat the wine being careful not to boil it for 10 minutes with the spices and fruit. Pour liquid in a large glass bowl. Place the sugar cone on an all-metal strainer that does not touch the lever of the wine or on a flat, metal cheese grater. If you can think of any other standard, metal kitchen appliances with holes in them, try them as well. Pour a couple tablespoons of the rum onto the sugar and light it. Continue to periodically pour rum on using a metal ladle. Do NOT pour directly from the bottle. Once the sugar cone has completely dissolved, enjoy the wine.


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