1. What exactly is mulled wine?
Mulled wine is a warm mixture of red wine, cloves, cinnamon, and citrus.
Historically, mulled wine began as a way to make not-so-great wine drinkable. It started with the ancient Greeks, who didn't want any of their grape harvests (and the accompanying alcohol) to go to waste.
Mulled wine gained even more popularity in Medieval Northern European as the spices were believed to provide a health benefit.
2. Find a recipe you like
Different recipes offer different mixtures of spices and citrus. Keep experimenting until you find one you like.
A simple one to get you started from Sprig of Thyme:
1 bottle of red wine (they suggest a "good quality Merlot")
3 cups of apple cider
2 oranges, juiced
1 apple, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
1/4 cup honey
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove/strain the spices from your wine and stir.
3. Don't let it boil!!!
Think low and slow. Anything above 173 degrees F will burn off the alcohol and, well, that's just no fun.
4. Allow the flavors to mingle
Once you've simmered your wine for 10-15 minutes, some suggest removing it from the heat and allowing the spices to infuse for another 30 minutes. Gently re-heat, strain, and serve.
5. Experiment with spices and citrus
Traditionally, mulled wine is made with cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and nutmeg. Try adding allspice, vanilla pods, ginger, or cardamom for a different flavor profile. Are you a big fan of tea? Throw a bag or satchel of your favorite tea blend (black and chai are best) for another tasty option.
Orange isn't the only citrus that works in mulled wine. Try lemon, tangerine, or clementines.
6. What wine is best for mulling?
You don't want to use an expensive bottle of wine for mulling, but you don't want it to be undrinkable either. Find a nice red that isn't heavily oaked. Try a Zinfandel, Merlot, or Grenache.
7. Make it in a slow cooker
Slow cookers are great to "set it and forget it" and keep your delicious wine warm all night.
Try this recipe from Well Plated.
SHARE with your loved ones that love a delicious, warm drink!