Hot Alcohol!

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On days like this, if I'm going outside, I'd like to do so with a cup of hot wine in hand. That's a reality in Germany and Austria, where delightful holiday markets and sidewalk stands ensure that you can have a warming cup of gluhwein on your every walk to the s-bahn. I often think how much nicer winter in New York might be if every hot dog and nut vendor also sold mulled wine for a buck or two. This is my dream for the city.

Since that is not a reality, I test drove Ikea's glogg (what the Swedes call their mulled wine) last night in an attempt to make my own at home. The results after the jump...
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Ikea's "Herrljunga Glogg" is a non-alcoholic mix of water, sugar, apple juice concentrate, cherry juice concentrate, non-alcoholic red wine, citric acid, and spice extracts. It's not the usual way one would go about making mulled wine, which typically involves steeping an herb mixture in red wine, but I'll throw just about anything under $5 in my cart when I'm at the Red Hook behemoth; I gave it a go.

The directions suggest "diluting" the mixture with water, wine or vodka "to obtain desired taste and strength." No suggested amounts were given, reminding me of IKEA's vague furniture assembly pictographs. I went with vodka over wine. Not a traditional choice, but I feared the mixture was already a bit sweet and needed a big kick of alcohol. Cheap vodka is all that's needed for this type of thing; I went with a tacky-fabulous bottle of Odessa vodka from Discount Liquors for $10.99. I added about a cup to the 750 ml bottle of mix. It was strong but drinkable, especially when you consider that a bit of the alcohol can burn off in heating. The mix itself isn't amazing; it's a bit too sweet and fruity, but it's a decent way to make a quick, fairly tasty ersatz mulled wine. It's not tasty enough to risk an open container ticket drinking it on the streets, but for drinking at home with a few guests, it's nice, provided you add the right garnishes.
 
In the bottom of the mug, I typically put almond slivers, currants, and golden raisins. I didn't have the latter two, so I subbed in some dried cranberries which made for a nice twist.  A cinnamon stick tops it off and can be used as a straw. If you can get to the bottom of  your mug of hot booze--and not all of my guests could or wanted to--you're rewarded with a tasty snack of nuts and alcohol-soaked hot fruit. Yum!


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