Courtesy The Lodge Bar at Hotel Lodge Park, Megève, France
Located in the southeast of France, near the Italian and Swiss borders, this area enjoys views of famed Mont Blanc (“White Mountain”), the highest mountain in the Alps. Yet, it has a quieter, more rustic feel when compared to big, splashy resort towns. The cobbled streets of the town center drew the chic ski set starting in the 1920s. Its proximity to Geneva (about an hour away) helps bring in affluent vacationers who look to ski, snowboard or scale the peaks.
Vin chaud (“hot wine”) is a traditional offering that keeps with the restrained feel of the town. Yet, while most mulled wines are made with red wine, this one combines white wine and Port, plus a dose of brandy. Jacquère, a dry white wine from France’s Savoy region, is recommended, though Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc also work well.
- 3½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup white wine
- ½ cup Port
- 1 apple, quartered
- 1 orange, quartered
- 2 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 cardamom seeds
- 1 pinch dried hibiscus flower
- ½ cup brandy
- Dried orange peel, for garnish
- Additional whole baking spices,
- for garnish
In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine brown sugar and 1 teaspoon water over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to simmer. Simmer without stirring for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to darken.
Add white wine, Port, fruit, spices and hibiscus. Stir together, and heat slowly for 10 minutes. Add brandy, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour into bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain mixture. At this point, the mulled wine can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
To serve, heat wine (stovetop or microwave), and divide among four tea cups or glass mugs. Garnish each mug with dried orange peel and whole spices. Serves 4.