Some people like to plan ahead for the holidays, and this mulled infusion is great way to get the Yuletide spirit going a little early. Using traditional mulling spices, this is great mixed into egg nog, or stirred together with hot cider.
In a mixing bowl, combine the honey and three ounces of bourbon whiskey. In a dishtowel, wrap the nutmeg, cardamom pods, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and allspice, and hold the towel closed. With the back of a heavy skillet, whack the towel several times on a cutting board to break up the spices. Heat the skillet over medium flame, and toast the spices for three to four minutes, tossing regularly. When you can smell the spices, add the orange and lemon peels, ginger, and honey-whiskey mixture. Bring to a simmer, and stir for three to five more minutes. Let the mixture cool, and then pour it all into a one-quart mason jar. Add the vanilla bean, and fill the jar with whiskey. Shake, and let sit in a cool, dark spot for 24 to 48 hours, shaking and tasting every 12 hours for doneness. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and then again through a coffee filter.