Mulled wine is one of the most popular drinks during the winter festivities. It’s particularly associated with Christmas markets all over Europe – but a cold & miserable winter’s day anywhere can be made bearable with a nice warm mug of spiced wine! Most of us tend to buy ready-made mulled wine or sachets which we just add to warmed-up wine, despite the fact that mulled wine can be made very easily. Here’s how:
How to make mulled wine
To make mulled wine just follow these tips re ingredients and basic rules:
- The wine: traditionally it was corked (or slightly off) wine that was used to make mulled wine, because adding spices and honey made it drinkable. These days many people tend to use cheap, not very good quality wine for the same reason. However, if you don’t want to have a headache, it’s best to use decent wine – though it doesn’t have to be award-winning! A good, medium-quality, fruity wine is just right – a reasonable Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti is ideal.
- The spices: you’ll need cinnamon sticks, cloves and shavings of nutmeg. You can also add star anise, vanilla bean/paste and even a little chilli and chocolate.
- The fruits: always add some citrus fruits, even if you use sachets! You only need some orange or mandarin slices, but lime & lemon can be added too. It’s best to squeeze their juice into the mulled wine, then put the fruits or their peel into it.
- Sugar: for best result use muscovado, demerara or other unrefined cane sugar because they add a subtle molasses flavour to the mulled wine. But any sugar can be used – also honey, agave syrup or maple syrup for a more healthy option.
- The most important thing is do not boil the wine because the alcohol will evaporate – just gently simmer it! Actually, for least evaporation it’s best to create a base syrup first (sugar, spice, orange juice and a drop of wine), warm this up, let it infuse for 10/15 minutes then add more wine and warm up to drinkable temperature. For best result use a cast iron pan which retains the heat better after you turn off the stove. Also, cook under a lid!
- You can prepare the base syrup in advance which can be bottled and used later. This makes an excellent gift too! Mulled wine syrup recipe >>
- You can put the spices into a piece of muslin or just serve the mulled wine through a tea strainer!
Mulled wine recipes
- There are many recipes – here is a collection of the best mulled wine recipes>>
- You can combine hot chocolate an mulled wine , which is rather delicious. Try this recipe: double chocolate mulled wine>>
- If you have leftover mulled wine, don’t just pour it away! You can use it for desserts and cakes such as, compote, sorbet, jelly, mulled wine crumble and so on. Or you can make mulled wine braised red cabbage, sauces and marinades from it.