A quick and easy mulled wine recipe

Susannah Glynn discovers the best classic mulled wine recipe and offers some little twists.

Few things are as warm and welcome as mulled wine on a cold winter day. Unlike many of our Christmas traditions, which originate in the Victorian era, mulled and spiced wine dates back at least to medieval times (other sources cite references to a mulled wine equivalent to the era of the Ancient Greece and the physician Hippocrates), when it is believed that spices were added to the wine that had gone bad to mask the taste and that the heated mixture had medicinal properties.

While there are generic suggestions on which herbs and spices are best suited for a good spicy mulled wine, there are few hard and fast rules, and the concoction below can be tweaked and added for taste.

There are a few other tips to keep in mind. Always use a stainless steel saucepan, as acids in wine can react with aluminum saucepans and leave a metallic taste. And don’t let the mixture boil – not only will the alcohol evaporate, but boiling can cause the mixture to separate.

You should also use half-decent wine – the general consensus may be that cheap red wine will do the trick but, as Emily Monseur of Berry Bros. told us, “if you use bad wine you might end up with bad wine. completely spoil the taste “. Emily recommends a fruity, full-bodied wine that isn’t too acidic – an Australian shiraz is a good choice, but a tempranillo from Spain or a Chilean merlot work well. All are robust and fruity but won’t overwhelm the spices.

For something more, follow the lead of the Swedes, who add raisins and sometimes almonds along with a bit of vodka to their mulled wine equivalent, Glogg.

And finally, in the unlikely event that there is any left over, you don’t need to get rid of it. After the fruit is drained, the mulled wine can be stored in the refrigerator for several days and reheated later.

mulled wine recipe

Ingredients

For 12 people

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of grated fresh nutmeg
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • (Other herbs and spices that can be added include anise, cardamom (crushed), and vanilla)
  • The juice of an orange
  • One orange and one lemon cut into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons of Demerara sugar or honey
  • Tablespoon of spirits or fortified wine. Cointreau, Grand Marnier, port or brandy do the trick.
  • 20cm square muslin or fabric bag tied with string
  • Steel saucepan

Method

Collect the herbs and spices in the muslin to make a bag. Making your own grinder bag will eliminate the need to strain the mixture at the end.

Pour ¼ liter of water and 4 tablespoons of Demerara sugar in a stainless steel saucepan with the sachet of muslin.

Heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have a spicy syrup left.

Add the wine, juice and pieces of fruit and heat for about 45 minutes but do not allow the mixture to boil.

Add any additional alcohol just before serving.


This recipe first appeared in Country Life in 2009, and still tastes great!


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Mildred S. Rizzo

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