glühwein -- decent mix of easy and good

Glühwein or mulled wine are things a lot of my friends try to make with varying success, and I've also tried to make with no more to middling success -- up to yesterday.

The trick I was missing is that you basically need to make sort of a syrup in advance, THEN add most of the wine right before most people turn up.

This recipe was a good mix between the overly simplistic and the overly spiced / involved versions I found on line.  It's in line with my favourites from Austrian Christmas markets, though not as strong (I think sometimes people add schnapps).
  1. Start with about 1/3 to 1/2 bottle of wine (it can be something you had open) about a cup of water + sugar, or what I did was about a quart of apple cider (in the American sense of fresh from farm apple juice, not the British "hard cider" sense) and just a little (1/5 a cup?) sugar.
  2. Spices: one stick of cinnamon, about 1/4 or 1/5 a nut of nutmeg grated, about 5-7 cloves.
  3. Fruit: I used one large seedless navel orange and one lemon.  Ideally use organic of both because the rind is used in the recipe and thick-rind fruits get subjected to a lot of insecticide. I sliced the middle of the fruits into very thin slices right through the rinds then quartered the orange slices and halved the lemon slices (throw out the lemon seeds / pips), then throw them all in the pot with the wine, cider & sugar.  Then I squeeze all the juice and scrape in the juicy pulps from the two ends of the two fruits.
  4. Bring this concoction to a boil over moderate heat, then lower it to simmer for about 30+ minutes.  Then put in a bottle of wine.  If there's sufficient demand, you can add another bottle. 
 I use decent but not great wine for this.  You can taste really poor wine through the spicing, but it's hard to taste really great wine through it.

If you're doing this for a party, you should use the rest of the apple cider for mulled cider so no one is left out! Mulled cider is just a 1/3 gallon of apple cider (again, that awesome farm fresh kind of apple juice, no alcohol), and two cinnamon sticks left simmering for 30+ minutes. Warning: if this goes on for hours, even if you keep adding more fresh cider, it basically turns into sugar. Which of course kids love :-)