Mulled wine is one of the glorious gifts of this time of year. Instead of simply shoving anything you can find in the spice cupboard into a pot, why not have a look at some of the recipes we’ve rounded up and make yourself a mulling master.
Three top tips before we get cracking…
Firstly, if you want to avoid powdery drinks and poorly dispersed flavours use whole spices. Ground cinnamon might seem like a cheaper alternative, but when you’re feeling it fuzz up your tongue you will see why it’s a lesser one too.
Secondly, don’t use your finest wine but be sure to use a frauity one. Merlot is often affordable and is berry-forward so it can be a good choice.
And finally, we’re also big believers in splashing a little something extra into our mulled wine here at Bring a Bottle. Why not try a little Sloe Gin, or some Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Curacao to bring out the flavours of your mulled masterpiece.
Waitrose’s Warmer is simply, zesty and delicious:
1 bottle robust red wine
2 blades mace
2 allspice berries
1 stick cinnamon, broken
6 cardamom pods
Finely pared zest of 1 lemon
Finely pared zest of 1 orange
100g caster sugar, or to taste
Put everything but the sugar into a non-corrodible pan over a low heat. Warm to just below boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Return to a low heat. When hot, but not boiling, sweeten to taste. Alternatively, place all the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low until warm (1-2 hours, depending on your slow cooker). Strain and serve in heatproof glasses.
Jamie Oliver’s “Christmas in a Glass” might be a little more complicated – but it’s worth the work!
200 g caster sugar
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
1 vanilla pod
2 star anise
2 bottles Chianti or other Italian red wine
Peel large sections of peel from the clementines, lemon and lime using a speed-peeler.
Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice.
Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.
When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into heatproof glasses and serve.