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    Cabernet grapes on vine

    Sometimes, parties are more about the drinks than the food – is this right? Whether you think so or not, I do believe that you will enjoy this mulled wine recipe by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

    3 star anise pods
    3 allspice berries
    6 whole black peppercorns
    3 cinnamon sticks
    1 large orange
    6 whole cloves
    3 bottles fruity red wine, such as Rioja, Grenache, Shiraz, or Raspberry Merlot
    1 1/2 cups brandy or Grand Marnier
    1 cup whole dried figs
    1 cup chopped dried apricots
    1 cup dried cherries
    1 cup dried, pitted and chopped prunes
    3 hibiscus flowers, (optional, for garnish)

    Special equipment: cheesecloth and butcher’s twine

    To make the sachet:

    Place a large square of cheesecloth on the cutting board. Add the star anise, allspice berries, peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks directly to the center. Tie up the cheesecloth with the twine to make a small package and set aside.

    To make the spiced wine:

    1. Take the orange and stud it with the cloves. In a large pot (not aluminum) over medium heat, add the sachet, clove-studded orange, wine, and brandy. Stir to combine. Then add all of the dried fruit. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the wine begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer until flavors have melded, about 30 minutes.
    2. To serve, ladle out the spiced wine and some fruit to each glass. Garnish with hibiscus flowers, if desired. Serve immediately.

    I don’t know about you but I can almost smell and taste that medley of fruity flavors!

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