Every year, as soon as those gourmet tins of mulling spices hit the specialty kitchen store shelves for the Christmas rush, you’ll find my copper pot on the stove simmering and glurping away with the season’s best aromas – orange, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to name a few. But this year, the stop-buying-and-start-making-it-at-home bug hit me really hard and I decided to do a D.I.Y. to keep on hand and to give as gifts.

You and the lucky recipient of these spice sachets can enjoy mulled wine or cider, brew a fabulous home fragrance and infuse other holiday recipes with the festive flavors of this tasty blend.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 oranges, cut into 1/4-inch slices and dehydrated* (see below for the super simple instructions)

For each spice bag, include 2 dehydrated orange slices, 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cloves, 6 whole allspice berries, 2 whole star anise pods and 6 whole peppercorns. Wrap up in a square of cheesecloth and tie.

For spiced wine or cider, combine one 750-milliter bottle of fruity red wine or apple cider with the contents of one bag; bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the flavors to steep, about 10 minutes.

*To dehydrate orange slices: Place the slices on a wire rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for about 4 hours, flipping the slices over halfway through the cooking time. Turn the oven off and allow the slices to sit undisturbed overnight.

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