Ring in the cold months and learn how to make your very own winter-warming mulled wine!
Travel almost anywhere in Europe around Christmas time, and throughout the dark evenings and long, wintry nights, you’ll catch the heady scent of spices, citrus fruit, and wine.
Mulled wine is to European as much a component of the festive period as Santa Claus, presents, and arguing with family members while stuffed full of turkey and chocolate.
It is the ultimate winter comfort drink - warming, spicy, packed full of flavour, and giddily drinkable. It’s something to drink outdoors while browsing Christmas markets, and at home around a fire with friends.
But it looks like Australians are slowly warming to the drink as a mid-year winter party special. We are experts at cherry picking the best traditions from around the world after all.
It originally created as an innovative way of making spoiled or poor quality wine more palatable in the days before safe drinking water.
Today, it still works well with cheaper bottles of wine, and there are literally dozens of different methods to prepare it. The most common mulled wine recipes use medium-bodied red wines, but in Hungary and Romania, it’s typical to find off-dry white wines used for a delicious alternative.
Here’s a recipe that sticks to the classics, and you’ll love the way it infuses your kitchen - and whole house - with those tempting, festive aromas.
Serves: 10 (if you have one glass each)
Time to prepare: About twenty minutes
What you’ll need:
- An orange or alternatively two satsumas, clementines, or other small orange fruits
- One lime
- One lemon
- Two hundred grams of caster sugar
- A stick of cinnamon
- One whole nutmeg for grating
- Three bay leaves
- One halved vanilla pod
- Two star anise
- Six cloves
- Two bottles of Chianti (or other similar Italian red wines)
Peel long strips of peel from your clementines, lime and lemon. Add the sugar to a large saucepan, and put on a medium heat. You’ll want to stir your pieces of peel into the sugar, and add the clementine juice along with the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, vanilla pod and about twelve gratings of the fresh nutmeg. It’ll smell amazing as you mix all this together, and after only a minute, stir in enough red wine to just cover the sugar and spice mixture.
Next, let this simmer away on a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved into the wine. Once this has happened, bring the temperature up to a rolling boil, and let it reduce for about five minutes, until you’ve got a lovely, fragrant, thick syrup. This is your base - you’ll have burned off the alcohol by boiling it down, so this is all about concentrating those flavours, which you’ll then add to.
Now is the time to turn the heat right down, and add the rest of your wine, along with the star anise. It’ll need about five minutes or so to warm through, and then it’s ready to ladle into glasses and drink with friends. Delicious!
But if tracking down all those ingredients sounds like a lot of work, our friends over at Herbies Spices have done the hard yards for us, with their masterfully-mixed Mulling Spice packets.
Now that you've already learned how to create your version of this traditional treat, take our quick wine palate quiz to determine the top 3 wines that you love!