Mulled Riesling Spritzer | Wine Enthusiast
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Mulled Riesling Spritzer

Courtesy of John Anton, general manager, Death & Taxes, Raleigh, North Carolina

Ashley Christensen has changed dining in Raleigh with her fabulously homey and stylish restaurants (Poole’s, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey). Death & Taxes, opened last summer, follows suit, immediately upping the city’s cocktail game. General manager John Anton developed this drink to bring the flavors of mulled wine into a lighter, brighter cocktail. “Riesling has enough body to stand up to all of the baking spices in the syrup, but is still very refreshing,” he says.


1 ounce mulled citrus syrup (see below)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 ounces dry Riesling
Club soda, to top
Rosemary sprig, for garnish
Mulled Citrus Syrup:
4 lemons
1½ grapefruits
2½ cups granulated sugar, divided
4 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick, broken
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
2 green cardamom pods
2 star anise pods
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped


In a punch or Old-Fashioned glass, add the syrup, bitters and Riesling. Stir well. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with club soda. Garnish with the rosemary sprig.

Mulled Citrus Syrup:

Use a Y-peeler to peel the lemons and grapefruits, taking care to get only the peel and no pith. Set the fruit aside. Place the peels in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag, and set aside. Juice the lemons and the grapefruits, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Combine juice in a plastic container and refrigerate.

Add ½ cup of sugar to the bag with peels. Massage the bag to break down the peels for 1–2 minutes, until the sugar looks moistened. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. The sugar will dissolve into syrup (“oleo saccharum” for bar geeks).

Snip a corner of the bag and squeeze the syrup into the reserved citrus juice and refrigerate.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups sugar with 2½ cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rosemary and let boil for 45 seconds. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding the rosemary. Add the cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, star anise and cloves. Let steep until the syrup has reached room temperature, about 90 minutes. Strain the syrup again, discarding the spices. Stir in the juice mixture, and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 4 cups.

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