Mulled Wine - The Festive Way To Enjoy Antioxidants

I love the holiday season. It can't be coincidence that we celebrate nature through food and drink - many of our holiday favorites are loaded with potent, life-enhancing ingredients! One of my favorite holiday recipes to share, for exactly that reason, is Mulled Wine. With red wine, spices, honey and citrus, this is one punch that's packing some serious anti-agers.

The origin of Mulled Wine is a little mysterious, but seems to have ancient roots globally - from Russia to Chile. Wines today can be kept for ages, but long ago wines had a much shorter shelf-life. It's possible that by mixing wine with spices and sweetness, its enjoyment could continue long after it spoilt - and heating it during the cold season only enhanced its pleasantness. No matter how it originated, once the cold kicks in a little warm wine really hits the longevity spot! Mulled Wine - or Gluhwein, or Glogg (my I-love-Ikea fave) - is terrifically easy to make. But before I share my recipe with you, I want to tell you why I love it so much!
Let's start with the main ingredient: wine. Now y'all know that I'm no big drinker (but I have admitted to my waist-line threatening addiction to licorice), though I make an exception when it comes to a quality red. Red wine is rich with resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of and seeds of red grapes. High concentrations are also found in cranberry and blueberry juice - but really, the festive spirit is so much more present in wine. Reasons obvious.
Research has shown that resveratrol contains anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar-lowering and other beneficial cardiovascular enhancing properties. It can help reduce plaque formation around the heart and brain, and help with weight maintenance. Ladies take note: it has also been shown to improve the function of estrogen, making hormonal hiccups calm down. Resveratrol is this effective, primarily because it activates sirtuins, longevity genes that reduce cellular decay and help cells to repair themselves. Similar activity is prompted by calorie restriction, or rather, eating and drinking less. But that's no fun. If we can have the same effects by eating normally and enjoying a glass of red wine, then pour me one!
There's more to the happy-power of Mulled Wine than just the resveratrol in red wine. Spices, like cinnamon and cloves, are super high in antioxidants, antiseptics and antimicrobials - perfect for fighting cold weather ailments. Oranges and lemons are filled with Vitamin C, and honey is rich in tradition: one of the five elixirs of immortality, it is a symbol of the new year and healing - as well as a term of endearment, my little honey-buns.
So here we have it, Sage's famous Organic Mulled Wine Recipe of Love (drum roll please):
3 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods (try saying that after 2 glasses!)
4 black peppercorns (yes, peppercorns)
6 cloves
1 1/2 cups honey (or a whole honey bear, if you can find honey in a bear)
2 bottles red wine - I LOVE the Sky Saddle Syrah, it's organic and local! Well for me, anyhow.
2 vanilla beans, sliced in half
2 small oranges, sliced thinly
1 small lemon sliced thinly
Toss everything into a pot, and simmer for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Mulled Wine is no ordinary holiday drink. It is truly life enhancing, and steeped in affection and lore. Who wouldn't want to raise a glass to that?
Loving life, Sage
Photo Credit: ldcross

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