Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Spiced Wines and Meads (Honey WIne)

Complexity Level:  Easy
Surely it would take to long to ferment a fresh batch of mead.  But, lucky for all of us, there are ways to sweeten and spice your household wine collection, to make excellent meads and even winter spiced sangrias.

Orange Holiday Wine 
Today, in preparation for a fabulous winter holiday party, I wanted to share a recipe I created to make a mead like wine, in no time at all.

Let’s be honest, time is often a luxury during the holiday season.  But through the busy hussel and bussel of the holidays, it’s important to find yourself a quick, and easy, enjoyable reipe.  This one just happens to also help calm your nerves and entertain ;)

Before making up recipes for mead, especially if you are not fermenting your own wines, it is important to understand what exactly goes into meads.  There are 4 main ingredients:
  1. Fruit
  2. Herbs
  3. Honey or Agave
  4. Syrups
I personally am a fan of three things when making spiced wines:
  1. Teas
  2. Ciders
  3. Fruits  (cloves stuck into an Orange a personal flavor favorite)
Teas is so simple to use as an ingredient.  Boil water, steep, done.  Fresh fruits, a bit more tedious – clean, skin, de-pit (or seed), chop.  Ciders being the simplest: those you buy, and viola!

Either way, to make a honey-wine (mead) you do need one thing for sure:  Honey.

If Honey isn’t your thing, or you prefer a more health alternative, I’ve recently discovered that Agave Nectar is also fabulous to use, and quite tasty!

Now, I am not going to brew, ferment, and wait on this wine.  That is saved for another day.

No, instead, we are going to take a Moscato (or Reisling) a Shiraz, and sometimes a Port and then we "Spice it up"!.  To start, chose what kind of Mead or infused wine you want to flaunt:

Sweet Honey Mead, Robust Spiced Wine, Sweet Wine Cocktail, Orange Holiday Wine:
And yes, if you insists all these can be cut in half for the 750 mL (the little bottle) of wine ;)

For a Cinnamon Sweet Mead, bring to boil 1 cup water, 1 cup apple cider, 2/3 cups Honey, 2 Cinnamon sticks, and 1/4 cup Orange Juice.  Stir ofter to break up and incorporate the honey (or agave).  Once at a boil, remove from heat, and add 1.5 Liters of Wine (the big bottle).  Skin, de-seed, and dice 2 Bartlett Pears and 2 Apples, and place into the wine mixture.  Let this sit for 20 minutes, then chill at least 2 hours.   Strain before serving.

For a Robust Spiced Wine, bring to boil 2 1/2 cups cider, 3 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, 2/3 cups Honey, the zest of 1 Orange, 2 Chai Teas bags, and 1 cup Apricot Brandy.  Stir ofter to break up and incorporate the honey (or agave).  Once at a boil, remove from heat and add 750 mL of Port Wine ( a sweet red) and 750 mL of Moscato (a sweet white).  Chi at least 2 hours, and strain before serving.

For a Sweet Wine Cocktail, begin by bringing to boil 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 cup Apple Cider, 1/2 cup Apricot Brandy, 2 Chai Tea bags, 1/2 cup Dark Rum, 2/3 cup Honey (or Agave), 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 whole cloves, zest of 1 lime and 1/2 orange, 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract, and 1/2 tsp Nutmeg.  Stir often to incorporate the honey or agave.  Once at a boil, remove from heat, and add 1.5 L of Moscato or Reisling and 1 cup red wine (I like Pinot Noir with this recipe). Chill at least 2 hours, and strain before serving.

For an Orange Holiday Wine stick an orange with about 10 whole cloves.  Place into a large soup pot with 1/2 cup orange juice, 3 cups water, 2 chai tea bags, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 stick lemon grass, 2 star of anise, 1/3 cup sugar (or substitute) and 1/2 cup Honey.  Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes, then add 2 cups Shiraz and 2 cups Moscato.  Turn off heat and let this steap 15-20 minutes.  I like this one hot, with orange zest and slices of clementine, but you can chill to serve as well.  Either way, strain the tea and spices first and enjoy!

Sopressata, Cheese, and Crackers make Holiday Wines a perfect Cocktail Hour!
Either way, the twist on wines shouldn't bog you down.  Flavoring your wines is fun, and the possibilities are endless!  No one ever said you can't go outside the box with cocktails, and these are a sure way to a good day!

Happy holidays (and drinking!)



  1. Oooh mead! What a great idea and such a change from mulled wine.

  2. While I am a lover of mulled wines, mead seemed fit for this years season! Hope you enjoy ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. What great ideas for the holiday season! Definitely going to try some of these out =)

  4. Wonderful! I hope they find you well... though I don't think a holiday drink can ever find one not well! haha

    Thanks for stopping by, I certainly hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  5. The world can always use more mead... I've always been meaning to try and make my own, but these recipes are nice shortcuts in the meantime! ;)

  6. Thanks Christine! I hope you enjoy! Spiced wines and Honey Wines seem to make the holidays so much better ;)


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