No, I Wouldn’t Like Cold Wine

Sounds delicious, but what could it be? (Click image to see larger)One of the best things about Europe is the Christmas markets.  They are beautiful, and they have lots of stands selling delicious foods and cool gifts.  You can wander around for hours just taking in the season.

Oh, but it’s freezing, so it’s kind of miserable.  Really miserable, actually.

For this reason, they drink hot mulled wine (or “forralt bor” in Hungarian).  IMPORTANT:  Before you run off to the microwave and toss a bottle in it, read the rest of this.  It isn’t simply wine that’s served at a warmer temperature, it also has a bunch of spices added into it.

There aren’t many better ways to beat the cold.  You have a hot cup warming your hands while you walk, and every now and then you take a sip of hot liquid that warms through your body.  The spices have a sharpness to them that makes you really feel the flavor.

If you make it at home, it goes something like this. (Click image to see larger)Now, the markets (and many pubs) sell it by the mug.  They either ladle it out of a big cauldron, or they have some sort of carafe with a valve that helps it keep it’s temperature.  These fancy mechanisms intimidated me to the point that I never tried making it at home.  But, this Christmas I decided I wanted to take this little part of Europe home with me.

A quick internet search helped me find a Budapest travel site that gave a recipe (see it here).  Basically, it contains wine (obviously), cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange peels, and brandy (unless you’re a little kid, in which case, just drink hot chocolate).  This recipe was too heavy on one of the spices (the ginger, I think, but I can’t remember), but it was still delicious.

If you’ve never had this, I highly recommend boiling some up at home (if I can do it, you can do it).  Or, if you’re too lazy to gather the ingredients, just head to a European market or pub in the winter.  Start in Budapest, because I’m biased.

The signs get more and more creative. This one is endorsed by some sort of Alpine Simpsons character. (Click image to see larger)Hungarian word of the day:

Forralt Bor

It’s pronounced “four-ahh-lt bore,” and it is the name of this delicious drink I’ve been talking about.  I just wanted you to know the correct way to pronounce it.