There’s nothing better than a warm Christmassy hug in the shape of hot, sweetened red wine infused with exotic spices!
The tradition of drinking mulled wine goes as far back as ancient Greece; the Greeks drank warm wine for medicinal purposes; to combat colds and viruses. The Romans drank it to keep the cold at bay. Also a favourite tipple enjoyed by Henry V111 and his court. Over time mulled wine has become synonymous with the festive season.
Mulled wine is made using a combination of spices, fruits and sometimes with the addition other types of alcohol such as port, brandy or sherry. Some of the common mulled wine ingredients include: cinnamon, star anise ginger, clove, sugar or honey plus some sort of citrus fruit such as orange or lemons. Spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, bay leaf and peppercorns can also be used.
When making mulled wine it’s easy to overheat and burn off the alcohol. This method of melting the sugar first with some of the wine ensures this doesn’t happen.
2 bottles of red wine
½ fresh orange juice
200 g caster sugar
5 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 fresh bay leaves torn in to pieces
2 Star anise
1 whole nutmeg for grating
• Cut one of oranges into thin rounds or slices. Using a peeler, peel large chunks of peel from the orange, lemon and limes.
• In a large saucepan add the sugar and the slices of oranges, pieces of peel, and the orange juice.
• Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, star anise and about 10 gratings of nutmeg to the pan.
• Pour enough wine to cover the sugar, stir and simmer over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to the boil and boil for about 4 minutes.
• Turn the heat to low ,add the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine for 5 minutes.
• Ladle in to heatproof glasses and serve.