March 3 – Mulled Wine Day
Just in case your palette is more refined than gorging yourself on cold cut sandwiches all day, March 3rd is also National Mulled Wine Day. Mulled wine differs from regular wine in that it’s usually combined with spices and served warm. And while March still comes in like a lion (or a more domesticated Toyger, these days), mulled wine is usually reserved for the coldest of days, as one of those alcoholic pick-me-ups developed in years past, when Starbucks cappuccinos weren’t readily available. Wikipedia says that versions of mulled wine have been around since the Middle Ages, all throughout Europe, and each nation and culture has a different wine and spice blend they’ve adopted to call it their own.
Typically, mulled wine consists of a red wine, which holds in the flavor of the spices better than white. The spices used can be any number of things, from cinnamon sticks and orange rinds to rare star aniseed and vanilla pods. Sometimes sugar is added to keep everything palatable. You could make your own mulled wine very easily with a cheap port and some cinnamon sticks, or even a mulled drink mix you can pick up at Trader Joe’s (can also work well in ciders!) Or, as the true convenience of living in New York begs, why don’t you just go down to your local mulled wine proprietor and order a glass? 🙂
One of the most celebrated mulled wine glasses in the city is at Spuyten Duyvil, on the north side of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A rustic pub that serves Belgian hipster beers (you probably haven’t heard of them yet), they also offer a cider-like mulled wine during the cold winter months. They’re all about the rare brews and vintages here, so it’s best to choose something you’ve never heard of before, or ask the bartenders (or the owners, who are always hanging around the bar) for a good recommendation. The warm, comforting feeling of the wine goes well with the atmosphere of the bar, which feels like an old European beer hall, complete with long, communal tables that just beg for old-world candelabras. The wine also goes nicely with their snack selections, dishes of finger meats and cheeses and warm mince pies. The whole place feels like a warm hug on a day when, while the temperature may not be frigid, the rain certainly makes some people need their spirits lifted.
359 Metropolitan Ave (between 4th St & Havemeyer St), Williamsburg
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I went for the mulled wine though. It was cold outside and it smelled delicious! The fragrance met us at the door. They served it hot in nice sized mugs and the price was reasonable. It tasted as lovely as it smelled.”–Natalee F.
“I got the red mulled wine (me thinks about $5), smelled and tasted just like Christmas, and I loved it, and I don’t even celebrate Xmas. Go for shizzy if you are in the hood. I came on Saturday around 11pm and it wasn’t too crowded either, we snagged a table by the window right away.”–Lana K.