A heated alcoholic drink made from wine spiced and sweetened, traditionally drunk at Christmas markets, especially in northern countries, during the cold season. Such spiced wines were already very popular in the early Middle Ages, because the spices were a good way of covering up wine defects that often occurred at that time, or they could be used to make wine that was already more or less spoilt still drinkable. An old recipe from the 15th century: Boil 2 litres of old red wine with 375 g sugar, 1 piece of cinnamon, 6 cloves, the thinly peeled peel of ½ lemon, strain it through a sieve and serve it hot. However, there are a myriad of different recipes. Mostly, however, red wine (or red grape must) is used as the base, to which cinnamon sticks and cloves are added. In addition, oranges and lemons (peel and/or juice) are often used, as well as sugar and/or honey. Bringing to the boil allows the alcohol to escape relatively quickly; if this is not desired, one may only steep.
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