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Author Notes: Sommeliers in the shmanciest restaurants use a limerick to get themselves out of those tricky situations when someone asks for a pairing with a particularly tricky food: If it grows together, it goes together. Basically, if a wine grows in the area that the food originated from, it will go well with the food -- people from that region make wine to compliment the local cuisine. This axiom can be applied to the more spirited world as well. If you want to know how to treat rum, ask a Cuban; for bourbon, look to Kentucky. And if you want to know how to chase the last vestiges of bone-deep cold from your body after shoveling what feels like acres of snow, or just to soothe the ache in your legs from that last ski run, ask a Swede.
The recipe is for a large batch -- it serves about 20 -- which will allow you to enjoy some on the day it is made and bottle some to be broken out later in the winter. Like most punches, this one benefits from aging to allow the components to mellow and integrate, so rack one away for next winter to see how it comes along. —Erik Lombardo
- 2 bottles of dry red wine
- 2 bottles of ruby port
- Zest of one whole navel orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup blanched, sliced almonds
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- 12 cardamom pods, cracked (use the flat end of a knife)
- 12 black peppercorns
- 1 to 2 star anise
- One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
- 2 cups brandy, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 to 2 cups sugar
- In a nonreactive pan, heat the wine, port, zest, raisins, nuts, spices, and ginger over medium-low heat until simmering, then lower the heat and cover.
- In another nonreactive pan, heat 1 cup of the sugar and 1 cup of the brandy. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
- Combine the syrup with the mulled wine and add another cup of brandy. Allow to simmer for an hour, then taste for sugar and brandy adding more of either if necessary.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain and bottle -- or enjoy immediately!
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
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