mulled wine. with cider!

We got it in our heads that we wanted fall beverages ("bevvies" if you're Kerri) for the duration of the weekend and mulled wine just had to be on that list, right after apple cider (rum not mandatory). Mulled wine is wine with a bunch of spices in it and while it doesn't have to be served warm, I like it that way. It adds to the whole festive nature of the thing. It's sort of like (dare I say it?) Christmas in a glass. Luckily I had juuuust enough boxed red wine left and only needed a bit of fruit and nutmeg and anise (which if I'm being honest I still cannot pronounce) to throw some of this together. The original recipe and far superior photos are here.
What you'll need:
1 bottle (or in my case a partial box) red wine
3 cups unsweetened apple cider
1/4 cup honey
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
4-5 star anise
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Unnecessary garnishes (and please say "garnish" with indignation like Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail when she is yelling at Joe Fox for the caviar situation):
1/4 cup brandy
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced 
1 small orange sliced

Put the wine, cider and honey in a pot over low heat. 
All the spices go in a separate pot and roasted over medium heat for about five minutes, tossing around occasionally. Don't do what I did and walk away because it was a bit touch and go there after the fact.

Then add those roasted spices to the wine concoction and heat for however long you want; the smell is amazing. At least a half hour though. And don't let it boil. 

Right before serving add the brandy and the fruit to taste or to pretty or whatever. And yes I removed the orange peel and no I shouldn't have done that but I needed the peel for this.

And drink with friends. Wala!