Enter alpine wine from the fringe: mulled wine and spiced cider featuring Northern Michigan wine. As a foil to the blunt cold of January in Northern Michigan, we broaden our oeno-lens, break out the Vietnamese cinnamon sticks and star anise pods and mull it up ski haus style. Ancient but murky, the origins of mulling—that is the sweetening, aromatizing and heating of wine—are often attributed to Hippocrates and revered in the colder corners of the world as means to reclaim oxidized vino and ward off hypothermia.
We prefer to start with modest, fruit-driven local red blends or cider, add spices and honey and let the whole house slowly effuse with scents of cardamom, cloves and warm red berries. With the mulling safely underway, stoke up the woodstove, layer up, and go for a cross-country ski or snowshoe through snow-laden cedars.