Much of autumn in Athens can feel almost summery, but by December, streaks of cold air finally find their way through the backstreets. The sun may be out, and the thermometers may still show highs of up to 18 degrees Celsius, but walking the streets of the city as evening falls, you are bound to experience sudden chilly gusts prompting you to pull your coat in tighter. Now you know its winter; time to dig out the wooly socks, and set your mind to getting in the festive spirit.
And what better way to help keep the winter blues at bay than with a warming, sweet and spicy winter beverage. Greece, like many countries, has its own version of mulled wine. It’s called “oinomelo” or “krasomelo” – from oinos and krasi, which both mean wine – and meli, meaning honey.
While mulling wines has traditionally been a way to make not-so-good wines palatable, it’s still a fact that the better the wine, the better the krasomelo. There are many recipes to try, and many Greek wines that are excellent for the cause, but just to be sure that the first krasomelo of the year is a good one, we asked Mario Basso; co-owner of the cozy bar Barreldier near Syntagma square, and one of our favorite bartenders in the city, to share his recipe.
For this recipe he used a Kefalonian Robola wine, flower honey, lots of citrus, spices and, for an extra kick; some fresh ginger.
Thanking him for the drink with a hug, he smiles and lets out a hearty laugh, and for a moment we hesitate – hold on – this feeling is strangely familiar. Is Mario Basso Santa Claus?
It must be the wine…
Mario Basso’s Krasomelo
- 150 ml white wine (Basso uses a Robola from Kefalonia)
- 1 tsp flower honey (or more, to taste)
- 25 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 25 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 cloves
- 2 thin slices of ginger
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1+1 cinnamon stick (one for garnish)
- ground cinnamon, for garnish
Gently crush the cloves, ginger slices, cardamom, and one of the cinnamon sticks with a muddler or using a mortar and pestle.
Place your spices in a small pot. Add the wine, honey, and juice and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat, strain, and serve immediately, garnished with cinnamon (stick and ground).