Mulled Wine

This drink is the perfect holiday cup of cheer on a chilly night!  The toasted spices and orange peel give it a little “kick”, but the Calvados apple brandy is what really puts this wine in a special league of its own.  I usually make this with Malbec wine, but you can use any dry red wine.

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Ingredients (makes about 7 cups):

5 whole star anise
15 whole cloves 
4 cinnamon sticks
peel of 2 large oranges
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 bottles dry red wine (I use Malbec)
1 cup Calvados (apple brandy)

Method: Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the star anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.  Allow to heat and “toast” until fragrant, but do not let burn.  Add orange peel, brown sugar, maple syrup and wine.  Stir and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, but do not boil.  Strain into another pot and discard spices and orange peel.  Heat wine mixture and add Calvados; turn off heat. Serve warm in mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.