Overnight the weather went from cool and sunny to rainy and cold (by Fiji standards). After a weekend with no sunshine I wanted to celebrate USA's Independence Day, but mimosas didn't sound so good without bright sunshine. In talking to a friend about winters we'd experienced I mentioned how cold and wet my winter in Germany was, and how much we enjoyed Glühwein at the December Weihnachtsmarkt. Aha! There's my celebratory drink. I pulled a classic recipe off the web, and Fijified it.
German Glühwein aka Mulled wine
2 cups mandarin orange juice (probably about 8 Fiji mandarins)
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
3 (750 milliliter) bottles DRY red wine
1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Zest of one orange (optional - helpful if the beverage is too sweet)
1 cup orange juice (optional - helpful if the beverage is too sweet)
In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Remove the membranes from the peel of both halves of an orange. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place the studded peel in the simmering water.
Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.)