Story by Dave Eckert | Intro photo courtesy of Affare Modern German Restaurant
Now that the cooler weather has settled in, it’s time to turn our attention to beverages that warm our bodies AND our souls. One adult beverage near and dear to my heart that accomplishes that is mulled or spiced wine. I recall making mulled wine as a young married man more years ago than I care to share. This year, I think I’ll revisit my younger days with some great local products.
Photo courtesy of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery
First up is Parliamo, a spiced wine by Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery in Excelsior Springs. “We created Parliamo a few years ago to offer a sweeter option for the fall-one that could be warmed for tailgating and outdoor fall festivities. Parliamo is also perfect for the holidays and serves as a nice nightcap in the cooler weather,” Fence Stile owner Shriti Plimpton shared. Plimpton says Parliamo can be served chilled, at room temperature, or slightly warmed. She describes it as a sweet, spiced wine with notes of caramel, cinnamon, and apples, and she says customers love it and are buying it by the case! You can try Parliamo at the winery or you can pick up a bottle at the Made in Kansas City store on The Country Club Plaza.
Another option is to pick up packets of mulling spices in the Fence Stile tasting room and make your own. “We have created two types – one for red wine and one for white. The packets contain spices and dried fruit in place of sugar. They’re packaged in a large tea bag, so they’re very easy to use,” Plimpton said.
Photo courtesy of Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery
At the other end of the metro, you will find more mulling spices from Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery. Co-Owner Cindy Reynolds says she likes to start with a wine she enjoys, like Somerset’s Buffalo Red or Flyboy Red, then add the mulling spices, and she’s good to go. “We love to serve this in our tasting room in the fall and winter. It’s easy to keep warm in a Crock-pot on low heat or your cooktop. We make it easy for customers to make at home with our Spiced Sangria Syrup. It has the spices already in it, so just add it to your chosen bottle of red wine. If you serve as a drink later in the day, we like to infuse ours with brandy. We use Somerset Ridge Citron or Avalon depending on whether we want to amp up the citrus or apple flavors,” Reynolds shared.
You can pick up the Somerset Ridge mulled wine cocktail kit at the winery outside Louisburg, or you can order online and have it shipped directly to you. Visit their site and you’ll soon be a mulling fool!
Photo courtesy of Flavor Spice Shop
They’ve got mulling kits for both cider and wine at Flavor Spice Shop in downtown Lee’s Summit. Owner Amy Williamson told me it takes her back to her childhood. “I remember my mom making mulled cider in the fall when I was young. I also got a taste of mulled wine one winter when I was in England. The aroma and warmth have always felt so comforting to me. I remember thinking, ’Nice, Sangria for winter!’ But they’re really quite different,” Williamson shared.
So, how did she get into mulling spices at Flavor? “Our first fall after opening, I started making both wine and cider to make the shop smell like autumn and to help sell our Signature Private Select red Amarone wine, Bevi Bene. I started by offering the drinks as samples. Instantly, people were asking what spices they needed to make it at home, so we quickly decided to make kits to make it easy for them. That rapidly became a huge hit, and we couldn’t make them as fast as we could sell them. This year is exciting because we’ve added Louisburg Cider to our inventory so guests can purchase both cider and the kit. We also have the cider (regular or spiked) and the mulled wine on the menu at The Downtown Deli and Market, which is right next to Flavor,” Williamson said.
You can get a warm mug of either through spring, which Williamson describes as “a cozy blanket hugging you.”
Finally, a European entry from the folks at Affare Modern German Restaurant. Of course, the Germans are famous for their Gluhwein, which co-owner Katrin Heuser told me she adores. “I love how the smell fills the room and how it’s a warm hug from the inside that takes the chill out of your almost immediately,” Heuser shared. Another hug reference. I love it!
Heuser says to make the perfect Gluhwein, it’s important to sweeten the taste, and she offers this advice. “Everyone has a different threshold, so make it your own, but don’t leave out the brandy,” Heuser exclaimed!