Glühwein Recipe

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During the Christmas season many German town centers have street markets with stalls selling cookies, arts and crafts, wooden toys and other festive items. Almost every street corner seems to boast Bratwurst and Glühwein stalls. Light a roaring fire and pour yourself a small glass of warm, spicy red wine. Below is a basic recipe, but in Germany vendors will offer you additional flavorings such as elderberry cordial or a shot of dark rum. At home, spike it too, if you choose.

Heat your Glühwein in a large saucepan on the stove or in a large jug in the microwave, but don't let it boil or the alcohol will evaporate. If you want a less alcoholic drink, then mix in apple juice or water.

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Glühwein Recipe

Chef George Hirsch | Makes 6 servings

1 bottle full-bodied red wine

1 small lemon

6 orange slices

10 cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

4-6 Tablespoons sugar

3 ounces brandy

Preparation

Pour the wine into a large saucepan. Cut the lemon in quarters. Stick the cloves into the rind of one quarter. Slice the rest thinly. Add the lemon quarter and orange slices to the pan with the cinnamon and sugar. Heat slowly until hot, but do not allow to boil. Add brandy and serve in heatproof glasses or small cups Place a metal teaspoon in the glass before adding the hot liquid to prevent glass from breaking.

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Inspiration: Summer Vacation

Celebrating the First Day of Summer

I first encountered the one and only Mohonk Mountain House quite a few years ago as an invite from my long time friend Paul McIlhenny, CEO of Tabasco to speak at one of their themed foodie weekends. Ever since, I've been a lover of this well preserved resort. At first I was torn; tape my TV shows there and let the world know about this jewel of an destination in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, or keep it to myself as a relaxing get-a-way place. I decided it's better to share.  

Built on the deep-blue waters of Lake Mohonk in 1869, this grand 266-room Victorian castle is one of America's oldest family-owned resorts. The National Historic Hotel property with thousands of acres of pristine forest, is just 90 minutes north of New York City with over 85 miles of hiking trails.

Start your day off hiking the trails and be-one with nature after a bountiful breakfast. Be sure to indulge on a stack of fresh blueberry pancakes! Take a stroll after a satisfying lunch touring Mohonk's award-winning gardens and get lost in their Victorian Garden Maze with someone special. Midday is tea time at the Lake Lounge; try Mohonk's Own Tea Blend! Take a short stroll to the Antique Barn which is filled with neat objects—I found a real treasure to take home with me, an antique cottage dresser with some authentic patina.

Pampering expands beyond being ensconced in nature at Mohonk. At their world class spa I've enjoyed some peaceful hours of treatments that have totally recharged me for a twilight round of golf; which is complimentary for guests on weekdays.  

One of my favorite dining venues while staying at Mohonk Mountain House is the outdoor Granary overlooking Lake Mohonk. The Granary offers breakfast and a daily barbecue for lunch and evening lobster-bake cookouts three nights a week, during the summer season. 

See how I could fit in all these activities and still find time to recharge. I also met up with another chef also named George: 

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George Hirsch Living it UP! TV Segment:

Horchata

Although Cinco de Mayo is not a national holiday celebrated in Mexico, in the US it has become a day of celebrating Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo was commemorated in the late 1880s in the US - and naturally food and drink made their way to the center of the celebration. We've all had margaritas, cervezas, guacamole, salsas + tortilla chips, but there's also a popular border-town beverage called horchata that deserves to be part of the celebration. 

Horchata is a traditional Mexican beverage that looks and tastes like milk, but it's rice-based. It is best served over ice. This sweet beverage has many variations (depending on Spain or Latin American influence) and can be flavored with almonds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and vanilla. This beverage is good news for the lactose-intolerant, but better yet a perfect drink to finish-off spicy Mexican food; supposedly good for the stomach. 

You can find horchata commonly served at Mexican restaurants or taquerias - on the menu under aguas frescas. Making horchata from scratch at home is also an option, but it is a very long process requiring a few days to make the rice-based milk. I suggest shopping in a Spanish market for good quality bottled versions or fine organic instant mixes.

For more Cinco de Mayo food ideas:

Mexican Calzone
George’s ’60 Second Guacamole
Tomatillo Sauce
George's Salsa Fresca

Award Winning Craft Brewery

You may have heard me mention my favorite brewery SPH, and I've even featured them on my TV show. Good people and more good news. Kudos to my hometown friends; Don Sullivan owner of Southampton Public House, SPH and Phil Markowski, SPH Brewmaster for bringing home yet another gold medal. This team has dedication and passion for the craft, that's a winning combination.

Southampton Publick House Ales & Lagers received the gold medal at the 28th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver Colorado competing against 495 breweries from 48 states. This year’s GABF hosted 49,000 guests and was recorded as a Guinness World Record for the most beers tapped in one location with1900 different brews.

Southampton Public House Berlinerweisse took gold in the German-Style Sour Ale Category, one of the 78 categories of ales and lagers. Berlinerweisse is a cloudy, sour, wheat beer of around 3% alcohol by volume. Historically, it was a regional beer from Northern Germany, mainly Berlin, dating back to the 16th century. Southampton Berlinerweisse, released in alternate years, is brewed in very small batches due to a 6-month fermentation period. 

I’ve sampled brews all over the world, purely for educational and research purposes, of course. Honestly- I use Phil’s SPH Brews as the benchmark for a good brew.

If you want to attend next year’s Great American Beer Festival mark your calendars as tickets go on sale June 2010 for the September 16, 17, and 18 2010 GABF, always sold out event.

For more information on Southampton Public House, Southampton, NY.