I wanted to kick off Thanksgiving dinner with a cocktail - something that our guests can sip on while we finish things up in the kitchen and also help set the mood. But I also didn't want to add more work and choose one that would require stirring and shaking!
Here's a really easy recipe for Mulled Wine - just put all of the ingredients in a large pot and heat up.
a bottle of a red wine (the fruitier and berrier the better!)
2/3 cup of sugar or honey (I use both)
1 star anise
3-4 cinnamon sticks
a pinch or two of ground nutmeg
a couple of slices of fresh ginger
1 apple, sliced
1 lemon, zested and sliced into rounds
1/4 c brandy *optional
**Slice a couple of super thin orange slices for garnish before zesting the orange.
If you have the time, I suggest mixing all of the ingredients above in a pitcher or in a large pot and allow it to marinate for a couple of hours - as if you were making Sangria. Then simply heat up once your guests arrive. Make sure it doesn't come to a full boil - you don't want ALL of the alcohol to evaporate. It will be nice and warm and it'll give off a nice holiday aroma.
Serve in mugs or in clear glasses and garnish with orange slices and a cinnamon stick.