Saturday, December 22, 2012

Melegbor - Hungarian soul warming Xmas wine

Ehhem... It's Saturday night. And cold (OK, I know my dear Finnish friends, it is "relatively" cold). We had some frost in the morning, and about 3 C, so I believe that will do as winter ;). Or at least it will do as a good excuse to drink some Hungarian hot wine.
Even as kids we were allowed some sips of soul warming wine before Xmas on the day when the pure piggy ended up being cut and processed to be served on our Xmas and New Year table.

The recipe is for two portions of spice base (two bottles of wine), but I found it difficult to boil half of it, and anyway, at a party you don't make only 1 bottle, and for yourself is always better to have one portion ready to enjoy ;).

~ 400 ml water (2 cups)
100-140 g sugar, depends on what kind of wine you add and how sweet you like it
4 cinnamon sticks (about 5cm, 2 in long)
~20 cloves, whole, roughly 2 large pinch
about 10 pieces of black pepper, whole or 1/2 tsp coarsely minced (add less if you don't want the wine chilly)
2 lemon's peel grated (optional)

Additional spices that can be considered to experience with:
small piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp cardamom seed, whole
1 star anise

1 bottle dry wine
1 lemon cut into slices for serving, optional

Bring the spices to boil in the water, and boil them slowly for minimum 15, preferably 30 minutes.
Some of the water will evaporate, and that's OK, you should still have ~200 ml. Filter it to remove the spices.
Bring the wine to as high temperature as you like it, WITHOUT boiling it however, as it will spoil the wine's taste and quality. Add ~100 ml (half of the portion prepared above) of hot spice base per bottle of wine, and adjust the sweetness with extra sugar (it is always better to have it less sweet first..)

Serve it in hot-cold glasses with lemon slices added, if you want.

I like it without the lemon juice squeezed in as the lemon zest makes the wine muddy, bit it looks nice on the side of the bottle, and some people like it, so try..

Grandma did it much simpler, just warming up the wine and adding sugar, minced cinnamon, cloves and minced black pepper, but over the years I prefer it with the spice more soaked in and the wine clear. However if you have unexpected visitors, just heat up the wine with the spices and serve it. Minced spices make the wine more tasty in shorter time, however you can't wait until it settles to filter it, or the wine cools down too, but the taste is good anyway.

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