I guess I'm not as worldly as I thought. Never had I considered -- or even heard of -- drinking wine hot before I moved to Ireland.
When we arrived at the Radisson Galway on Saturday night for Medtronic's Christmas party, in which 1,800 turned out (yikes), we were greeted in the lobby by Santa Claus and servers with trays of glasses filled with red wine. I noticed steam rising from the glasses and asked the girl, "Is this hot?" She replied, "Yes." I grimaced, and pointed to the next tray in the other server's arms. "That one too?" Sadly, she nodded. What the hey - why not try something new? I grabbed a glass and "gave it a go," as they say in Ireland. After the first sip, I was ready to give the glass back. It tasted like cheap red wine with lots of cloves. But coffee hot. The alcohol was through the roof, due to the heating, I bet. Ugh. Not my cup of tea.
Maybe the experience is so bizarre to me because I would never dream of drinking a wine hot. Some sort of Northern European tradition we won't be bringing back to the States!
The nasty concoction we tasted is probably a local recipe for the original hot wine, Hypocras, which is said to have been invented by Greek physician Hippocrates (5th century BCE). Hot wine is also big in Germany, England, even Austria, I believe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocras
But since there are lots of Polish immigrants here, it may have been a Polish recipe, such as this one:
You are more than welcome to try this one at home! Merry Christmas.