The holiday rush has taken over, but let’s not forget that means the Winter Solstice is upon us as well. It’s the phenomenon when we will have the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere. The Winter Solstice with its long dark night is actually a celebration of light. Here on after, the days will start to get longer beckoning upon us the glimmer of spring and then summer.
This is the time of year that we embrace what little natural light that Mother Nature gifts us and we celebrate with the twinkling of lights that we deck our halls with. Religions embrace this time with the start of Hanukkah, which is the Jewish Festival of Lights. And we are well into Advent of Christmas.
The cold winter nights that fall upon us at this time call for hot brew to soothe our souls as we anticipate the coming of light and longer days. This year the Winter Solstice arrives with the new moon. I’m going to start my Winter Solstice Brew in the light of the new moon that will culminate when the moon comes to full bloom as we welcome the new year.
The exact date of the new moon is December 17th and Winter Solstice 2017 is on December 21st. So, if you like, you can start this brew on the night of the new moon, December 17th and serve it on Winter Solstice five days later. The Winter Solstice brew will still be flavorful and delicious to serve, but the longer you allow it to sit, the better it gets. The Winter Solstice Brew is much like spiked apple cider or mulled wine, and it includes the warmth of brandy that is infused with winter spices and oranges that symbolize the sun reminding us of its coming rebirth. Use organic ingredients if you can to keep it untainted and as close to nature as possible.
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 cup brandy
1 fresh orange, thin sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
2 star anise
1 vanilla bean sliced lengthwise
24 black peppercorns
¼ cup honey (optional)
- Combine all ingredients, except honey, in a quart-size glass jar.
- Shake well to combine.
- Allow mixture to sit up to 4 weeks, if possible.
- To Serve
- Add entire contents of the jar to a saucepan. Add ¼ cup of raw, organic honey (optional to sweeten to taste).
- Warm on very low heat setting, heating mixture throughout.
- Serve in cups or glasses.