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When the weather turns cold in Prague and you are out enjoying the sites there is only one way of warming up, Svařák. Svařák (also called svařené víno) is the Czech name for mulled wine. Mulled means heated and spiced. Mulled wine is a warm drink made from red wine, some citrus fruit, a sweetener and spices. Sometimes it is additionally spiked with vodka or rum. Svařák is a popular warm drink during the cold weather months in Czech Republic as well as many other European countries. Perhaps some of you may know it as Gluhwein, the German name. Mexicans will find this vaguely reminiscent of ponche navideño.
Mulled wine has been around for a very long time. It was commonly drunk during medieval times. It was called Ypocras or Hipocris after Hippocrates the physician. People believed mulled wines to be good for your health. During the Roman Empire it was served as tonics. As time passed this “medicinal” drink become popular around many countries all of whom developed their own recipes.
Nowadays I think it safe to say that most people consider Mulled wine as a Christmas or holiday drink. It has become our traditional Christmas drink. One we love to warm up with while wondering through the Christmas markets on chilly snowy days. During the holiday season it is sold here at all of the Christmas markets as well as many restaurants. Some places make it from scratch and others go the route of cheap instant mix added to red wine. It is difficult to suggest our favorite place or market vendor for Svařák. Instead just have fun and taste as many as you like or require to stay warm.
My recipe is not a traditional Czech, or any other traditional recipe for that matter, but really just a concoction of tasting as I went. The recipes for Svařák or Mulled wine vary greatly depending on the country, region or personal tastes. Most recipes you will find suggest you use a cheap red wine. This non-expert says, use one you know and enjoy but don’t go crazy. After all the taste will be masked by the spices and sweetener. On those occasions when I’ve been served cheap wine, I find the taste bitter. So my assumption would be that it would become more bitter after being heated. I don’t know, what do you guys think ?
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 green cardamom pods, bruised
- 4 whole all spice
- 1 small piece of nutmeg or ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 thinly sliced tangerine, unwaxed or organic if possible
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp. honey, adjust to taste
- Place all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and simmer under low heat for 40 minute.
I’ve always had so much to be thankful for and that makes me extremely lucky. The past 15 months have been the most challenging in my life. (I don’t want to reveal the detail so please don’t ask) But amongst all that bad news something amazing happened. Something I am so thankful for. I want to tell you that even in the worst of times beautiful things can happen. They happen unexpectedly. Never give up. Hold on to your loved ones tightly. Always try to find the good in every situation. Give love, and it will come back to you. It is never too late. Appreciate every moment of your life, don’t waste a minute of it. I know all cliches but today I can proudly say that they are all true.
Tomorrow many of you will be gathering with your loved ones to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday. May it be filled with love, laughter, and good health.
Na zdraví!! It means cheers or literally to your health.
I normally don’t do this but, could I ask for your help. My recipe is a finalist for a contest being run by HostelBookers. I would shamelessly like to ask for your vote. All you have to do is like my Linguine recipe photo on their Facebook page and it counts as a vote for me. http://tinyurl.com/7epx7zp Thank you so much!!*