Oh how I love “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and all of the other amazing albeit; old actors. If you think you are too young to sit through some ancient movie, think again and check it out. You will be happy you did. Although the angels at the very beginning of the movie look more like amoebas than heavenly beings, it gets real after that. A great scene in the movie is when Clarence, Georges’ guardian angel asks the bartender for Mulled Wine; “Heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves”.
Mulled wine really is ancient. It was invented by Roman soldiers and used on long journeys to quench thirst and stay warm and of course lift their mood a little. Although mulled (spiced and sweetened) wine is usually an alcoholic beverage, it can be made without alcohol using plain grape juice and other flavorings.
The traditional ingredients include: red wine, sugar or honey, orange, brandy, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise and should be served heated. Over the years most folks develop their own blend of flavors for this classic drink.
In Great Britain during Medieval times a drink called posset made with wine or ale, curdled milk, and spices gave birth to the frothy favorite, we call Egg Nog. Some people don’t like the thought of drinking something made with raw eggs, but it tastes more like an egg milkshake to me. It’s common ingredients include: Milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, brandy or rum, and nutmeg. This is another beverage that can be enjoyed without alcohol but must always be served chilled.
Hot cider is a popular drink that has been around since the early days of the Roman Empire. It then traveled quickly to Great Britain and made it’s way up through the ages. Today, making hot cider is to some people an art as well as a tradition. There are as many different ways to make hot cider as there are people out there willing to drink it. However, it commonly contains brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, cloves and brandy or rum.
Whether you make your holiday beverages, overnight or express, one thing is for sure, they are reminders of the joy we share.