It is almost Christmas and time to get into the seasonal spirit or more correctly the seasonal Mulled Wine. In Jersey we have had our Christmas Markets and the air inside the bars and restaurants was heavy with spices, and the smells of mulled wine and cider. Mulled Wine and similarly Mulled Cider are traditionally popular drinks over the festive season. They are served hot, often sweetened with sugar or honey, and flavoured with a variety of spices, oranges, and lemons. You don’t have to worry too much about the alcohol either as much of it evapourates as the wine is warmed. Although if you want you can add a slug of port or brandy to give it kick. Mulled Wine is very similar to the Germany Glühwein. Glühwein dates back to the early fourteen hundreds and is still drunk today, often served with spiced gingerbread.
Mulled wine has changed over time with the vagaries of taste and fashion. One of the more traditional recipes was recorded by Mrs. Beeton in her famous cookery book using cloves, mace, and nutmeg. It also lists the wines to be mulled as claret and port. However, I reckon a tankard of hot port would pack quite a punch. Today you can buy the spices already prepared as a sugar-based syrup or in little bags like T-bags. They are usually a combination of citrus peel, ground clove, cinnamon pieces, nutmeg, star anise and ginger. In recipes, I have seen bay leaves, cardamom and vanilla pods included so really you can experiment until you are happy. Personally, I think that would be quite a nice way to spend an afternoon.
- 1 Medium sized Pan
- 1 Bottle good Red Wine
- 60 gr Demerara Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 Cloves
- A pinch freshly grated Nutmeg
- 1 Orange sliced into 1 centimetre slices
- 60 ml Port Brandy or Sloe Gin (optional)
- Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, and the spices. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter, and add more sugar to taste.
- Off the heat, stir in the sloe gin, port or brandy if you are using it. Strain into heatproof glasses and serve at once.