One of the best things about Greece in the winter is the weather. While some days are rainy, and the mountain villages get quite a lot of snow, there are plenty of days that are sunny and warm.
Last year, Mario Basso of Barreldier shared with our readers a delicious recipe for krasomelo (the Greek version of mulled wine, made with honey). But what special drink can you make for Christmas when the weather doesn’t agree with steaming hot beverages?
As it turns out, you can still make krasomelo – just use a different technique, and serve it chilled. The following recipe is just as good served cold as it is warm. By infusing the wine for two days before serving, you don’t need to heat it to get all the lovely Christmas flavors to bloom.
The Long Eared
This mulled wine, inspired by a classic recipe from 1390, is made with Agiorgitiko wine, honey, and the Greek spirit Metaxa (which is similar to brandy). Served cold instead of warm, it is refreshing, sweet and tangy.
- 1 litre (4 1/5 cups) fruity red wine such as Agiorgitiko (Basso uses one from Papagiannakos)
- 300 ml Metaxa
- 1 cinnamon stick, slightly crushed
- 5-6 cloves, slightly crushed
- 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- the zest from 1 orange, in pieces, without white rind
- the zest from 1 large lemon, in pieces, without white rind
- the zest from 2-3 mandarin oranges
- 5 tbsp. honey (or to taste)
- dried fruit & grated cinnamon, for garnish
Stir together all ingredients except for the honey and garnish in a pitcher. Cover and infuse for two days.
Add the honey and stir until dissolved.
Shake your cocktail with some ice in a shaker, and serve it up in a pretty cup with ice, garnished with dried fruit and dusting of ground cinnamon.
Heat on the stove until hot, but not boiling, and serve with the same garnish.
The Barreldier Christmas Menu
The Christmas menu at Barreldier features four special yuletide themed cocktails. Like most of the drinks here, they’re based on classic recipes, dating back as far as 1390.
Aside from The Long Eared, try the Snowman (a new version of Punch a la Romaine, from 1900), with orange-scented rum, white wine, prosecco and lemon sorbet, the Elf (a tribute to the classic Honeymoon cocktail from 1895), with brandy and wintery fruit liqueurs, or the slightly spicy Red Nosed (a holiday twist on the 1896 Clover Club) with gin, pomegranate, lemon, ginger, and elderflower foam.