Holiday Spirit(s)

Holiday CocktailOnline, people constantly peruse our log home plans because they possess a little something extra, something special. Every Tuesday on Facebook (Truss Crush Tuesday, of course) they like, love and comment on our photos of our log trusses and timber trusses, again, because of the extra craftsmanship and artistry that our people add. When crafting our luxury log homes, we choose Northern White Cedar as our medium for a reason – it’s the best. That obsession to go over and above, strive for the extra-special, over fulfill, to be our best permeates everything we do in our process. It even overflows into our daily lives outside of White Cedar (is there a life outside of White Cedar?…), even into our holidays. So, when we chose to “brighten our spirits” over the course of this next month, we take it to another level and the “it” is mulled wine. If Bing Crosby’s voice is the sound of season, simmering mulled wine is the scent.

Wine was first recorded as spiced and heated in First Century Rome. The Romans, as we know, travelled/conquered extensively across the globe, spreading this and other culinary traditions, which were in time adopted and improved upon.   Glühwein. Bisschopswijn. Karstvīns. Rреяно Bино. Vin Chaud. Vin Brulé. Every corner adopted and created their own version of this soul-warming elixer…including us here, at Town + Country Cedar Homes.

Let’s start with a few tips. Use whole spices—not ground. Not only do whole spices have more eye-appeal in the pot, they allow the flavors of the clove, cinnamon and anise to infuse the wine with their warmth without changing the consistency of the mulled wine, as ground spices might. Make sure your spices are fresh. Whole spices last longer than ground. Whole spices are usually good for 3-4 years after purchase. If you think yours might be older than that, toss them. The longer you let this simmer, the more spiced your mulled wine will become. This is a good thing—until it’s not. Don’t let this simmer to death. Once you’ve hit 30 minutes, cover the mulled wine to keep it warm, but turn the heat off. Because mulled wine is simmered for up to a half an hour, you will lose a bit of alcohol, use red wines that are naturally a bit higher in alcohol. You don’t need to use an expensive wine, but do use something that tastes good to you on its own—you can’t make delicious mulled wine with a not-at-all delicious wine. Zinfandel, Cabernet sauvignon and Syrah are three good candidates.

Marty’s Holiday Creative Juices Juice

two bottles of red wine
couple of good glugs of Brandy
glug of OJ
couple of good glugs of black currant juice
splash maple syrup
couple sticks cinnamon
a few peppercorns
a few cloves
couple of bay leaves
big chunk of ginger
couple of star anise
orange, sliced
handful fresh cranberries
large sprig rosemary
big pinch orange zest

Combine all the ingredients. Bring to just before a boil; bring the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10-30 minutes. Wet a mug rim with orange slice and dip the glass rim in a mixture of brown/white sugars. Let dry for a minute or two. Pour hot or warm (straining optional). Garnish with fresh cranberries, orange slice, orange peel, rosemary sprig.

May your Holidays be happy, healthy and filled with love and laughter!


  • I have more questions and concerns about getting an oil-change than I do about this project.

    ~ Tom H.