Mulled wine is a holiday staple often served by the punch-bowlful at cocktail parties. But what do you do now that the ornaments and garlands are packed away? There are still weeks of chilly temperatures and rain in the forecast, and a warm drink would sure hit the spot. This alcohol-free concoction has all the soothing spicy flavor without the fuzzy morning after, making it a perfect drink for weeknight sipping by the fire.
Pomegranate juice works well for this beverage due to its natural acidity, and the color doesn't hurt either. The bold spices pair nicely with the robust pomegranate flavor, where sweeter fruit juices would taste too much like a liquid dessert. The orange juice gently tames the tartness, making this aromatic beverage easy to drink before bed as an alternative to hot tea or warm milk. Just be careful not to doze off and drop the mug—pomegranate juice stains!
The procedure is ludicrously simple: drop all the ingredients in a pot and simmer, then strain into a mug and enjoy. This recipe makes enough for two one-cup servings but could be doubled or tripled and stored in the refrigerator for easy reheating during the week.
About the author: Christianne Winthrop is a freelance food writer, caterer and culinary instructor. She lives, eats and drinks in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob.
- 1 pint (16 ounces) pomegranate juice
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 medium orange
- 1 small lemon
- additional cinnamon sticks for garnish
Pour pomegranate juice into a saucepan and place on the stove over low heat. Add cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, and star anise.
Peel outermost layer of lemon and orange using a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid white pith. Add peels to pomegranate mixture. Reserve lemon flesh for another use. Squeeze orange juice from both halves into the pomegranate mixture.
Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
Strain juice through wire mesh sieve into serving mugs. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick.