Before you make navegado, a warm spiced drink based on red wine, popular in the south of Chile, you’re going to want to learn how to say it. You can pronounce it nah-vey-GAD-o, but you’ll be alone. Instead, swallow that D along with your preconceived notions about how to pronounce words in Spanish, and you’ll be right on track. It’s nah-vey-GA-o.
We generally drink navegado in the winter, though temperatures drop throughout all of Chile at night, even in the summertime, so it’s a toasty warm option for the evening at any time of year. In Chile it’s dirt-cheap to make, and the one you make at home will always be better than anything you get out and about. If you can drink it by a campfire, so much the better, but you can also serve it piping hot to your friends in mugs. Most of the alcohol is cooked out, so your biggest worry will be people getting cozy and never wanting to leave, not spilling red wine all over your house.
To make navegado, you’ll need:
A thick-bottomed pot
A box (liter) of wine, or other inexpensive but not foul wine
(Star Anise, pictured, is optional)
Some people like to caramelize the sugar in the bottom of the pot before adding the wine. This is done by melting and stirring the sugar until it turns pale and golden with (but not black, which happens quickly, so be careful!) with no water added, and then adding the wine in on top of that. My experience has shown that it doesn’t radically influence the taste of the navegado, so you may wish to skip this step and save your pot and your patience.
Warm the wine in the pot with two to four whole cloves and two cinnamon sticks until boiling. Stir in ¾ of a cup of sugar until it dissolves, and lower the heat. Halve and thinly slice two washed oranges (peel and all) and put these into the wine, keeping it no warmer than a simmer until the oranges heat up and take on the color of the wine. It is important not to return this mixture to a boil once the oranges are in it, as they release a bitter taste into the wine if they are cooked at too high of a temperature.
Strain and serve in mugs. Enjoy!