What a dreamy fall and winter batched cocktail. Hailing from Piedmont and often served during all the Christmas markets across Italy, I was regaled over the delights of vin brulé during a visit to Florence this past summer and have been dreaming of making my own once the weather got cooler. It's as simple as can be, and infinitely adjustable and easy to batch up by bottle, which is always a delight. It makes me feel like I'm watching the snow fall from a warm cottage in northern Italy, as I'd always like to be. —Samantha Weiss Hills
(about 220 grams) sugar
750-ml bottles red wine, preferably something from Piedmont, Italy
First, make a syrup that will be the base of your vin brulé. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add the sugar and just cover it with red wine; you'll add the rest later. Before turning on the heat, use an immersion blender to make sure the sugar is distributed among the wine and therefore more quickly to cook down. Turn the heat to medium-high. Then, add the lemon and orange peels, sliced apple, and spices to the pot, and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly for about 8 to 10 minutes until what's left is a syrup. You can take a few breaks from whisking to let it boil, but keep an eye on it. You don't want it to cook down too much, and I'd check the viscosity once you've reached 8 minutes.
Once you're happy with your syrup, all that's left is to add the rest of the wine! Keep the vin brulé warm but not too hot, as you don't want to cook off the alcohol too much. Ladle into cups or let guests do it themselves.