Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar continues with another hot tipple to keep your hands and your liver warm this holiday season. Day 6 brings us this delicious and deceptively boozy Mulled Port.
Mulled wine was one of the glaring omissions from the 2018 iteration of this cocktail advent calendar. The nearest I got to mulled wine last year was this Mulled Pear and Icewine Punch.
I remember that one distinctly because I succeeded in tipping over my entire photography set-up and scalding my hand with the piping hot cocktail in the making of that shoot. The floor of my bedroom, nearest the window, was sticky for months after that.
Knock on wood, no shooting catastrophes thus far this year. This Mulled Port would definitely leave a stain.
There are a few cocktails that I think are quintessential Christmas classics: eggnog, hot chocolate, mulled wine, a party-sized punch, and champagne cocktails.
I will do my level best to make sure this year’s calendar includes at least one of each of the above. Last year, the Mezcal Mexican Hot Chocolate and the Hazelnut Eggnog were two of my favourites. I just made a pitcher of the Kentucky Bonfire for a recent get-together and it received rave reviews – I changed up the recipe a bit by using cinnamon syrup in place of regular simple syrup and loved the added element of spice.
This advent calendar is one of the more challenging/rewarding features I run on the blog. Beyond the expected difficulties around time management and the expense to my pocketbook and my overall health that comes with making 24 cocktails in as many days, the primary challenge is found in the creative process.
I typically make and shoot a series – 4 to 6 cocktails – on the weekend, when I have the most available natural light. As a result, I’m creating, styling, and tearing down 4-6 different photo set-ups. Sometimes it can be tough to think of a novel approach to getting the shot and making it pretty, especially when you’re creating so much content in such a short window, and getting progressively more buzzed in the process.
And no, I don’t finish all the cocktails I make for this series. Often, I try to coordinate to have friends over as or shortly after I do this so that I’m not absolutely pickled on a Sunday afternoon.
In case any of you were wondering how/where I shoot, let me shed some light on the subject. I place an apple crate on the floor, nearest my floor-to-ceiling windows, and place a black 24″x24″ ceramic tile on the crate. I usually prop up a black chalkboard behind the tile and, if I want a background that isn’t black, I’ll tape a backdrop to the chalkboard. I’ll either let the backdrop cover the tile so both horizontal and vertical surfaces have the same palette or I’ll just feature the backdrop on the vertical surface and style the tile with napkins/runners/etc.
Occasionally I’ll shoot directly on the floor if I’m trying to get that flat-lay shot and need more distance from the lens. Sometimes I’ll shoot on my bedside table and use my wallpaper as a backdrop and the walnut tabletop. In case you were wondering, my future self has a photography studio and shelving units full of props, dishes, glassware, and all the right camera and lighting equipment.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to use the constraints of my space as a creative challenge.
- 3 oz port
- ½ oz bourbon
- ½ oz dry white vermouth
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 to 2 tsp honey
- Orange peel for garnish
In a saucepan, heat port, bourbon, dry white vermouth, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and honey (to taste).
Strain into a heatproof mug and top with ¼ cup boiling water. Garnish with an orange peel.
Recipe from: Hunt, Michelle P.E. and Laura Panter. “Port Warmer.” Food & Drink. Holiday 2001.