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News and Information


12/03/12

Spiced Wine: A Great Holiday Tradition

There are countless pleasantries about the transition from fall to winter. Having an excuse to snuggle by the fire and read a good book, the anticipation of the first snowfall and the rapture of spending time with old family and friends. Winter is a mystical season that seems to be filled with magic and splendor.

However, no winter would be complete without indulging in the seasons many divine and mouthwatering beverages.Wassail is a traditional holiday drink historically given to carolers on chilly winter nights. This delicious concoction of hot, mulled punch or cider, cinnamon, sugar, ginger and nutmeg, is the perfect addition to a quiet night around the fireplace or a holiday gathering with friends and family. Today, Wassail typically has a wine base and orange and apple slices are added for a deeper flavor.

Boordy Vineyards, a local Maryland winery, produces its own version of a spiced wassail as a part of their “Just for Fun” series. This fun celebratory drink is perfect when you need a warm pick me up on a chilly day.For those who are not particularly fond of red wine, Spiced Apple Wine is a delicious alternative to Wassail. Served hot or cold, Spiced Apple Wine has a similar flavor profile to Wassail, however the base is fermented apple cider in place of red wine. Equally as rich and comforting, both suggestions make great company for the chilly months of winter.

Linganore Winecellars, a Frederick County winery, produces a Spiced Apple Wine that is made from apples grown in western Maryland. It is semi-sweet and when served warm it highlights mouthwatering cinnamon and clove infused flavor.When a night out on the town sounds more appealing than a quiet night by the fire, a highly recommended drink of choice is one of the many sparking wines that Maryland has to offer. Whether toasting to a new beginning, or a long years end, a Maryland sparkling wine adds an opulent and festive feel to any occasion.

Great Shoals Winery produces a variety of handcrafted sparkling wines using peaches, pears, apples, grapes and other fruits from local and regional sources. Offering both Champagne-Style wines and Cider-Style wines, you are sure to fine the one to complete your celebration.Luckily, Maryland wineries produce an abundance of delicious spiced holiday wines. Sparkling wines, Wassail and spiced apple wines are all part of various Maryland Wineries collections, as well as red wines like Chambourcin and Merlot that would make a fantastic base for homemade Wassail.

Linganore Winecellars Spiced Apple Wine and Boordy Vineyards Spiced Wassail can be found at the Maryland wine shop near you. Or if you are feeling adventurous you could always try to make some on your own.

Make your own: It may sound intimidating, but making homemade wassail is surprisingly easy! Here is a basic at home wassail recipe that can be tweaked and altered to your taste buds desire:

a pinch of nutmeg
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
juice and rind of one orange
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
½ pint of water
1 bottle of dry red Maryland wine

In a pan place the nutmeg, brown sugar, juice and rind of lemon or orange cinnamon stick, clove and hot water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the wine. Reheat but don’t boil. Serve immediately. Enjoy! (Recipe courtesy of suite101.com)