Innocent warm-up
Written by Katarzyna Henschke   
There is a gale outside, it has been drizzling since early morning, and in an hour or so a few freezing friends will enter my home. What shall I serve? I am walking among the shelves in a shop, looking for inspiration. The brainwave did come at the spices. To warm them up, mulled drinks will be the best.

grzance2Mulled cardamom beer

Ingredients:
1l of pale beer
5 spoonfuls of buckwheat honey
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, not too big


Preparation: Put the cinnamon stick and honey into a little pot. Add cardamom pods. Slowly pour beer onto the spices, so that foam does not appear. Boil it for about 5-10 minutes on a low heat, until the beer gets hot. To keep the beer tasty, you should not let it boil.

The best mulled drinks are those based on pale beer or red wine. Beer may be served in an old-Polish way – with some yolk and quite a lot of sugar. Dense sweet beer drinks used to be a dainty of the Polish noblemen. Especially the one consumed in the morning that replaced coffee, which was unknown in the XVIth century. But what was a typical noblemen’s breakfast then, might not be acceptable for modernday gourmets. It is even more certain they will not taste a hot beer drink with cottage cheese that used to be popular among peasants. On the other hand, beer with honey and spices, e.g. cloves, ginger and cinnamon, is a totally different matter.

For those who are not fans of beer, a remedy for the whimsical weather may be mulled wine. In Nordic countries the spicy drink that is a must in Christmas traditions cannot be forgotten during family gatherings and Christmas fairs. Only their names differ – in Sweden it is called Glögg, in Norway - Gløgg, and in Germany - Glühwine – some spices and other additives may vary, too. The effect of drinking a cup of it is the same everywhere. A pleasant sensation of warmth…

grzance3Glögg

Ingredients:
1 l of semi-sweet red wine
100 ml of vodka or akvavit (as an option)
½ an orange
1 ginger root, not big
3-4 cardamom pods
5-6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
10 dag of sugar
10 dag of raisins
10 dag of peeled almonds


Preparation: Peel the ginger root. Add it with the sliced orange, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon to the wine. Heat it up for about 15 minutes and then add vodka, sugar and raisins. Keep heating up the drink for another 15 minutes. Then pour it into high mugs and sprinkle it with almonds.