Recently closed Bay Area pub Albatross shares mulled wine recipe

What does a hot mug filled with the scent of cloves, cinnamon and a hint of citrus remind you of? Perhaps a Christmas fair filled with sights and sounds of Victorian London. Or your mom’s kitchen on Thanksgiving, the happy sound of your parents chuckling in the background. Maybe even sitting in your cozy local pub in the dead of winter, surrounded by friends for a happy hour.

Well, in 2020 we can’t have beautiful things so you won’t be enjoying them this holiday season. But here’s the good news: you can still have mulled wine, that fragrant, sweet and spicy alcoholic beverage that you may also know as glögg, mulled wine, candola, or vino caliente.

With the pandemic forcing restaurants to eat alfresco and take out only, many have reduced their menus, making mulled wine a difficult find this year. However, you can still order it on Speisekammer, a German restaurant in Alameda, or a version of it called “Bad Santa” in Pacific Cocktail Haven’s Holiday-themed Miracle pop-up.

But if you’re forced to celebrate Thanksgiving on your own or just your immediate family this year and want to fill the house with the most heartwarming and festive scent imaginable, you’ll probably want to do it yourself. It’s easy, I promise. And I know you have time to waste.

Personally, mulled wine brings me back to December evenings spent playing board games with friends at Albatross, one of Berkeley’s oldest pubs that recently closed for good. We may have tragically lost the Albatross, but we don’t have to lose their mulled wine: I asked owner Andrew McGee for his recipe.

“People have always asked about the recipe, but we’ve always had to make it in such large quantities that it’s impossible for people to make it at home,” McGee said via text message. “I can certainly tell you what I would say to our customers, and that our ingredients were red table wine, hot spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, star anise), fresh citrus juice squeezed (we used a mixture of orange and lemon), brandy and a little sugar depending on the sweetness of the orange juice. People can experiment with different red wines, but I wouldn’t use anything too expensive, because all the spices and brandy crush all the nuances of expensive wine. “


At Albatross, mulled wine has always been a favorite, the bar serving it for over 20 years. When I called McGee to see if I could get him to apply poetic wax to the drink, he delivered.

“When the weather changes and it’s cold outside at night, once the sun goes down and it goes down into the 40s or less, we have a fireplace, and there’s wood everywhere, so that fits. sort of to our whole vibe, ”he said. “You will have a few glasses of mulled wine and sit by the fireplace. I also think there is something about the cloves, cinnamon and allspice, these are all used. in many holiday kitchens.… People got really passionate about it. Some people wanted us to keep serving it until the summer. “

The pub only served the drink a few months a year, and, seen among the holiday decor and cheerful atmosphere of the bar, it was a hot commodity. In November and December there were always a few huge mulled wine coffee urns, so of course it smelled good in there.

If you’re looking to bring a little Albatross home with you this season, here’s a recipe adapted from the Recipe Blog. Give me oven to look more like the pub recipe, which I have tried several times with great success.

You can’t sit in a bar this year, but you can make Albatross Pub mulled wine at home.

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Ingredients:

1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
1 orange
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 stars anise
optional: 3-4 allspice berries, grated fresh nutmeg
2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste
1/4 cup brandy
optional toppings: citrus slices (orange, lemon and / or lime), additional cinnamon sticks, additional star anise

Using a vegetable peeler, cut large ribbons of orange zest, then squeeze it. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and stir to combine (McGee recommends putting all of your whole spices in a tea scoop for easy removal). Barely let it simmer over medium-high heat, but don’t let it boil (or you’ll boil the alcohol!). Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer the wine for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Filter the whole spices and orange zest before serving (or just remove the tea ball). Enjoy!


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Elisha A. Tilghman

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