As the holidays approach, wine and libations are aplenty. Whether you’re stocking your shelves for family gatherings and/or grabbing that perfect dinner guest gift, where you store your wine can make all the difference. While many of us might consider ourselves budding oenophiles and sommeliers (at least in our own minds), a good wine should be preserved just right. And considering home renovation is at an all time high, now might be the perfect time to look into a permanent wine storage solution.
Don’t have a lot of space? Our undercounter Dual Zone Wine Cabinet and storage system is pretty fantastic and is UL-rated for indoors and out. At only 24”, the unit is designed to preserve your best bottles with independent climate zones allowing for separate temperature ranges (from 40°F to 65°F), while glide-out, vibration dampening racks hold up to 45 bottles and protect that special vintage. To add to the allure, our wine cabinets come with our TruLumina LED lighting—allowing for 14 different color options to fit your mood. And that’s just if you want to go small.
For those with much bigger plans in mind, our 30” Wine Column is just as meticulously designed to provide wine aficionados and connoisseur’s alike with an intuitive, dual-zone system that optimizes storage. With all of the wine cabinets’ afore-mentioned perks, the columns can store 150 of your favorite varietals. In addition, both units come with a True Precision Control and readout to provide digital accuracy and are available in 54 unique color and hardware combinations for the ultimate in style. Ergonomic, robust handles and Low-E, double-pane, UV-tinted glass doors ensure an extra layer of protection from overexcited kids and/or accident prone guests.
But style and storage aside, to properly celebrate the holidays, we tapped Berkshires-based culinary consultant Katy Sparks to share her famed Mulled Wine Recipe. After all, what kind of cold-weather celebration is complete without Mulled Wine?
Katy Sparks’ Mulled Wine Recipe
The great thing about having a mulled wine recipe in your repertoire is that it is a perfect way to use up that last glass of wine sitting in the bottle that you just didn’t get around to drinking yet. But for this recipe, I recommend buying a whole 750ml bottle so you can share with friends! The best varietals for this are Zinfandel, Merlot, Rioja, Chianti, Pinot Noir, but most dry red wines will work just fine. There is a ton of flexibility in making Mulled wine if you remember the basics:
Wine + Spices and Citrus + Sweetener + Simmering together = Mulled wine
So if one of the spices in this recipe doesn’t appeal to you, just omit it or swap it out. Same thing for the sweetener—I like natural turbinado sugar but other sweeteners can work well like honey, white sugar, or even jelly or marmalade.
And the last “fortification” of cognac is also optional. It is great to boost up the kick and the flavor when you’ve had a long day. Also, simmering the wine with the other ingredients reduces its alcohol content so there’s room for a little more….
1 bottle of dry red wine (Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Chianti)
1 large naval orange: make 4 long strips of zest and set aside for garnish. Squeeze the juice from the orange and add to the wine
8 whole cardamom pods
4 pcs of whole star anise
4 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
Optional: 4 Tablespoons Brandy or Cognac
Add all the ingredients except the Brandy or Cognac to a non-reactive pan like glass or stainless steel. Bring to a simmer while stirring gently. Cover and simmer on very low heat for up to 1 hour. The longer the mulled wine simmers with the spices, the stronger that flavor will be. Serve the wine warm but not piping hot.
Divide the spices evenly into 4 heat-proof glass mugs or tumblers. Ladle the warm wine into each mug. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of Brandy or cognac per glass, if desired.
You can also add a dollop of whipped cream if you really want a rich treat—it will melt nicely into the mulled wine. But another accompaniment is a good strong farmhouse cheese that can stand up to the spices. Enjoy!