I don’t really like mulled wine. I have done my best to try to wean readers off this column. Last week we brought you a spicy blend of lager and stout as an alternative party drink, which is very good and it turns out – thanks for the Scandinavian emails – to be a genuine thing. Previously, you were tempted with hot buttered rum. If you haven’t made the rum yet, try it this Christmas. It is surprisingly good. (Be sure to whisk the butter into the drink rather than letting it sit on top.)
My disdain for mulled red wine is quite arbitrary. It can be good if done carefully, but too often it’s made with bad red wine and is either an acid that rots the gut or so sticky it instantly gives you in the morning after polishing. too many bottles of red wine teeth. If you don’t know what they look like, you are truly blessed.
So with the end-of-year celebrations in full swing, I’m going to offer you one last alternative: mulled white wine. It’s sweeter than the red stuff and will give you something to talk about if the conversation with the in-laws dries up.
Make sure you use a bottle of white that you would be happy to drink cold (the same goes for wine you put in a sauce for that matter). Something dry and fruity, like a Riesling, would be nice. For the spirit, I particularly like the Yarde Cider Brandy, which is sold in small quantities by husband and wife cider growers Paul Gadd and Rebecca Jack of Stoke Gabriel in Devon. But any brand will do, even French.
Mulled white wine
For 4-6 people
750 ml white wine
1 thick slice of orange, sprinkled with 4 cloves
2 tablespoons of honey, or more to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cm thick slice of fresh ginger
75 ml apple brandy
1 Add everything except the brandy to a saucepan and heat slowly until it is almost simmering. Put out the fire. Leave to rest for 20 minutes. To serve, heat until heated through and add the brandy. Mix well.