You can sort of skimp on the quality of your wine, since you'll be doctoring it.

Mulled Wine


A lot of spice and no sugar (we use agave syrup, lower on the glycemic index) lends a clean, mild flavor to this holiday classic.

makes 6

10 whole cloves

6 black peppercorns

zest from 1 lemon, in big strips

zest from 1 large orange, in big strips

2 cinnamon sticks (each about 2″ long)

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

2 bottles dry red wine (about 7 cups)

1 cup kirsch

2 cups water

1 cup mild agave syrup

1. Tie the cloves, peppercorns, zest, cinnamon and vanilla in a piece of cheesecloth (you can also use a coffee filter). Or you can just throw everything in the pot, but be careful later when you drink the wine.

2. Combine the “spice bag” with the other ingredients in a large pot.

3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat as low as it can go and let it quietly bubble away for at least 20 minutes, up to a few hours.

4. Ladle it into glasses and serve.

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