Orange Honey Glühwein

As November becomes December, a wonderful thing starts to happen in Munich. Little stalls adorned with branches of pine and probably a few deer antlers start to pop up in squares, fields, and courtyards all over the city and really, the country. Selling everything from Christmas kitsch to handmade treasures, lebkuchen, and stollen, these stalls always seem to be buzzing with people enjoying the season and getting a bit of Christmas shopping done.

After wandering about in the freezing cold for a bit, folks naturally make their way to the most important stand at the market—the ever-present Glühwein stall. Nothing warms your hands, tummy, and heart like a nice long chat with friends over a piping cup of this hot mulled wine which, as Casey says, is the nectar of the gods. Though there are some variations like Nürnburg’s famous blueberry version or the white wine version, the standard is the red with a slight orange taste thanks to the fresh squeezed OJ and mulled peel.

Moving to Germany made me a much better Southern cook, so it stands to reason that the move back to the States will motivate me to learn the German treats we are going to miss so dearly. When brainstorming ideas for our family Christmas party, the thought of sharing this tasty part of German culture with my family gave me the kick in the tush I needed to make it. It’s not even hard, y’all.

Orange Honey Glühwein from Kiwi and Peach

Orange Honey Glühwein

serves 8

juice from 3 oranges {1 1/2 cups}
1 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
20 cloves
1 bottle {750 mL} of a slightly dry red wine, room temperature

Let’s get started by juicing your oranges. Wash them thoroughly. Roll the oranges on the counter to start breaking the membranes inside there. Then cut them in half and squeeze all of the juice into a bowl.

Heat a pot on medium heat. Pour the orange juice through a sieve into the pot and add the honey. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low.

While that’s coming to a boil, go back to your orange peels. Take two of the halves and scrape the insides out. Stick the cloves through the peel. {This just makes it easier to fish them out later.}

Add the clove studded orange peel and cinnamon sticks to the pot and let it simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. {Some folks add star anise too, but I cannot abide that licorice flavor so clearly, I don’t. Up to you, just throwing it out there.}

Once it’s looking like a syrup, add your wine. Keep it on low and simmer until its steaming. You don’t want to boil it because then you’ll start losing alcohol content, and obviously, we want the alcohol content. Remove the the orange peel and the cinnamon sticks. Once it’s steaming, serve it up as is or, depending on the occasion, add a shot of rum.

Orange Honey Glühwein from Kiwi and Peach
Orange Honey Glühwein from Kiwi and Peach
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Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade

Last week I mentioned making a spiked lemonade to go with the shrimp tacos we had for our Labor Day celebration. Well folks, here it is!

We have loads of rosemary at the moment. It is quite literally taking over our herb garden, so I’ve taken to throwing it in everything: drinks, cakes, even the pumpkin ravioli I’m making tonight. Along with the slightly herby taste that the rosemary gives the simple syrup, I feel like the maple syrup compliments the bourbon beautifully. In my world, lemonade is a very summery drink, but the maple and the bourbon give it just a hint of Fall, making this the perfect accompaniment to a Labor Day feast or really, any feast this time of the year.

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade | kiwi+peach

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade

{makes about 4 drinks}

Rosemary Maple Simple Syrup
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup maple syrup
5 sprigs of rosemary, washed and leaves striped

The Spike
1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice {about 3 lemons}
1/3 cup bourbon

Boil your jug and start heating up a pot on medium heat. Once the jug boils, measure your water into the pot and then whisk in the maple syrup. Add the sprigs of rosemary {stalk and leaves} and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

While the syrup is simmering, you can be juicing your lemons. Remember to roll them really well before you try to juice them. This will break up all the little membranes, and you will get so much more juice!

After a couple minutes of simmering, strain the syrup to remove all the rosemary bits. In a pitcher, stir together the juice, the bourbon, and the simple syrup. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours to cool.

Serve over ice. Extra rosemary optional but oh so pretty.

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade | kiwi+peach

DIY Almond Milk

I’m lactose intolerant. Not in a Leonard kind of way, but in a if-I-eat-dairy-without-taking-my-medicine-I’ll-be-throwing-up-in-a-couple-of-hours kind of way.

It’s really not a big deal though. I actually h.a.t.e. the smell of milk {it all smells sour to me}. I hands-down prefer sorbet or frozen yogurt to ice cream. And let’s face it, all the best cheeses like gorgonzola, parmesan, gouda are all fine since they are fattier {meaning they have very little lactose}. For anything else, I can always take a little pill that provides that magic lactase enzyme I’m missing.  Not a big deal at all!

What I don’t like is having to take medicine when there is a perfectly tasty alternative. Enter milk alternatives.

I’ve been a soy drinker since I found out I was lactose intolerant, but in an effort to veer away from possible GMOs and highly processed stuff, I’ve switched to almond milk. It’s so tasty y’all! Even better is that you can make it yourself. It takes a little bit of forethought since the milk goes bad within a few days, but once you get into a rhythm it really is the simplest thing in the world!

Kiwi+Peach: DIY Almond Milk

I follow The Kitchn’s instructions for making it, but here is the condensed version. Soak your almonds overnight. Drain and rinse them then pop them in a food processor. Add fresh water and then process for about 3-4 minutes. Lay a piece of cheese cloth over a bowl. When you’re finished processing the almonds, pour the mixture onto the cheese cloth. Gather the edges and squeeze all the liquid out of the meal. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup and you’re good to go.

I find that a half batch {1/2 cup almonds, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp honey} will last me for 2-3 days which is probably only how long it will be fresh for anyway.

My biggest piece of advice is use cheesecloth. I couldn’t find it at all here in Munich, so I had my folks stock me up on their last visit. It’s exactly ten million times easier if you use a cheesecloth rather than a sieve. {I also may or may not have broken our sieve the first time I tried to make it.}

Don’t throw that leftover almond meal away though! There is so much you can do with it. My favorite ways are using it for breading my fried chicken or in a tasty pie crust.

What do you think? Would you ever try making your own almond milk? If you try it, let me know, you hipster you!

Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrup

As a rule, the Kiwi and I are not big house drinkers. I’m not saying we never have the occasional beer or glass of wine at home, but we are more likely to imbibe if we’re out at a restaurant or on vacation. {Which kind of goes hand in hand with eating out…but I digress.}

The exception to this is when we have company. Much like a starter or a dessert, I think that the beverage selection you offer can really make an impact on the meal. Don’t worry, water and sweet tea are almost always on tap too, but what I really love is trying out new cocktails on our unsuspecting guests. I’m sure our friends think we’re lushes. Last week, I whipped up this sucker when we were having a friend over for dinner before a concert. The weather has been beautiful and our herb garden {especially the rosemary} was getting unruly, so I thought I’d throw some in. It was perfect with our black bean burgers and fruit salad dessert with coconut whipped cream.

Kiwi+Peach: Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrupphoto by the Kiwi

Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrup

The Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 sprigs of rosemary

The Fruit
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries

The Booze
1/2 a bottle of a dry white wine {I used a dry Riesling because I’m in Germany.}
1/2 cup of clear rum {I used Bacardi}
2 cans of San Pelligrino Limonata {Really any lemon lime soda is fine. I’m just being pretentious. }

Boil your jug and start heating a medium size pot on medium heat. Measure your sugar and add it to the pot along with the water and the rosemary. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil, then take it off the heat and remove the rosemary.

Next, get to prepping the fruit. Thinly slice your lemon. Wash and core your strawberries, slicing them in half {or quarters depending on some} when finished. Wash your blueberries. Add all the fruit to a pitcher, and then add the simple syrup.

Now you’re ready for the good stuff, the booze. Pour half the bottle of wine in your pitcher and add the rum. Give it all a stir and then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours or until it’s nice and cold. Just before you’re ready to serve, add the Limonata and stir well.

I find the easiest way to pour it up is to spoon some fruit in the glass first and then to pour in the liquid, but it’s completely up to you. Garnish with some rosemary, a wedge or lemon, maybe a strawberry. The possibilities are endless.