This may be the oldest drink in this app because it dates back to the Romans. They had a spiced wine they called Hippocras. Unfortunately, there are no actual recipes for it. At least that I could find. It was not till the 1300s that the English and French started to specify the spices to use, and it’s basically what we still use today. This is NOT a hippocras recipe; this is a more modern, more palatable spiced wine you would expect to find in a standard cocktail app.
Now the drink. Pick a medium dry wine. If it’s already sweet, you can’t add your sweeteners like maple syrup or honey. This limits your ability to add complexity. These give you room to build more of your flavors. Next up is spices. Long story short, just read my mulling spices description. It can be summed up as not adding too much and sticking to just four different spices. Think cooking; you wouldn’t add a shit ton of salt or pepper to your fried eggs. It would be too much, so you do a light sprinkle. The same thing with this: add 2 or 3 cloves, three cinnamon sticks, etc. A little bit goes a very long way.
Next up is cooking. Most folks do this in a crockpot, so I would just set it to warm. High, low, and simmer are all too hot. Alcohol burns off at 173 f (78 c), and high, low, and simmer all go to around 180 – 200 f. High gets there faster than low and simmer, but warm only goes to 160 f. You can do a slow cooker if you want, but keep in mind that you will burn off most of the booze even at a warm temperature if you cook it for a long time. I think it boils better if you do it faster in a regular stovetop pot. Turn on the fire, pour it into the pot and quickly bring it to heat. If you have a thermometer, stop around 160 or till you start to see a light vapor coming off the top. Once your hooch is up to temp, drop it to low, add your sweetener and spices, and then cook for just 20 minutes. Most of the good flavors in your spices will come out in those first few minutes. Turn off the heat, fish out the spices, add your bourbon, and serve. And that’s it. Serve it, put a lid on it, put it in a thermos, reheat it when you want more a little later, but stop the long-term higher temperature cooking. Some folks cook this stuff for hours, but I think that’s a little excessive. You won’t get any more good flavor out of it, and you will burn off the booze.
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