6 mandarin oranges
2 dried California bay leaves or 4 dried Turkish bay leaves, folded in half down the center vein
2 (3-inch, or 7.5 cm) cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
2⁄3 cup brown sugar (150 g) or honey (224 g), or to taste
2 bottles (750 ml, or 31⁄4 cups each) fruity red wine, divided
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the oranges in wide strips. Squeeze the juice from the oranges. Combine the orange peels and juice, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, pink peppercorns, brown sugar, and 1 cup (235 ml) of the red wine in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 51/2 cups (1265 ml) red wine. Gently simmer (but do not boil) until the mixture is warmed through. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Serve warm.
Yield: About 6 1/2 cups (1500 ML)
Excerpted from Wild Drinks & Cocktails Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switchels, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home by Emily Han (Fair Winds Press, 2015)