In the holidays we have served a warm wine wassail with red wine or port. Old English Wassail spices of orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves are steeped at heat for an hour or two, yielding a slightly bitter wine infusion that is balanced with light cane sugar and fruit juice.
Last year, we happened to brew a bit too much wine wassail and I stored it in the refrigerator, and served it over ice the next day. It was a new experience. There was something about an icy red wine cocktail with a finish of cloves and cinnamon. It was festive and refreshing, and beautiful to behold. The icy goblets were dripping wet with condensation, imbued with a deep red hue.
I have experimented over the last year with various methods of steeping to retain the alcohol content. Here’s my recipe:
1 box of red wine
1.5 ounces of Oliver Pluff wine spices wassail blend
Juice of two oranges
¼ cup simple sugar syrup (*optional, sweeten to taste)
- Pour red wine into a large covered pot
- Cut and squeeze the juice of two oranges into the wine
- Add Oliver Pluff wine spices wassail blend, filtered by cheesecloth or jute bags.
- Steep overnight in the refrigerator.
- Sweeten to taste with simple sugar syrup if desired.
- Serve over ice in clear glass goblets for an elegant winter wine cocktail.