I made the Santa discovery at a very young age. My classmates at the JCC had warned me something was fishy about the old man and the sleigh story and I agreed. The deal was sealed when my Dad, Jan, insisted that Santa had no interest in carrots for the reindeer and a mugful of milk. “Father Christmas likes glühwein.” “Hmm.. so does Jan, " I thought. My mother's response to my queries was genius (the woman should have been a politician): “He is real to those who believe in him.” Absolutely spot on.
Years later, Christmas is still my favorite and I have discovered, with enough mulled wine, Santa becomes easier to spot. Glühwein is the German mulled favorite, served hot at Christmas markets and holiday parties. It reminds me of a roasty toasty Sangria. As usual, there is no exact science involved in its creation, just a list of suggested inclusions to be tweaked and adjusted to your fancy. Please do not pour your fanciest Bordeaux in the cauldron; a couple bottles of two buck chuck will do.
RECIPE: 6 big glasses
½ cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1 (750 ml) bottle red wine
2 star anise
-Simmer water, sugar, star anise, and cinnamon stick (reduced heat)
-Cut orange in half and squeeze juice in. Stud peel with cloves and throw in. Continue to cook till syrupy
-Pour in wine and heat until ready to serve.. do not let it boil away. Remove orange peel and serve.