As entertaining moves outdoors and the weather cools, we’re thinking of warm drinks like this Mulled Côtes du Rhône wine to serve friends. This combination of a dry côtes du Rhône wine and port is sweet and rounded. Like German gluhwine, this drink is flavored with warm spices. To extract the flavors from the spices, combine the ingredients early in the day and let them sit and macerate. Although rosemary is used as a garnish, the herb works well to flavor the wine.

Wine tastes best in a stem glass but don’t use your prized Riedel. Choose something a little sturdier but not too large. Of course small mugs work too.

A little goes a long way when serving warmed wine. You sip a little gauging the wine’s temperature and rich flavors. But know that some of the alcohol evaporates as the wine simmers, not enough to make this suitable for kids but enough to lessen some of the guilt.

Wok Fire Pit

Kitchen Notebook

A while back, a huge restaurant wok called to me from a dumpster in New Haven. I knew it would be useful for building a fire to keep us warm while playing boules outdoors into the late autumn.  What I didn’t realize while dragging it slowly to my car was that we would need it for any gathering in 2020.


For more ideas on how to stay safe and cozy entertaining outdoors, here is an article from Shore Publishing.

Mulled Côtes du Rhône

Yield: 6 Servings


1 bottle red Cotes du Rhône or Pinot noir wine

1 cup red port wine

6 star anise pods

6 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest or several whole pieces

2-3 tablespoons Honey

Sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the rosemary in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Serve in heavy stem glasses or mugs garnished with sprigs of rosemary.