Mulled wine has been around for centuries and is generally considered to be a continental invention. It is very popular in Germany and the Alps, especially during the festive season. It is an occasional drink, in that it is meant to be drunk by many people at once. Usually it is rolled out at parties and civic receptions.
So what the hell is it and how do you make it? Mulled is German for mixed, so basically it is red wine mixed with base alcohol and many fruit and liquor flavours.
The following is my guide to making Mulled wine. Note the word guide here, as opposed to recipe. I have never made this in the same way twice.
You will need one large saucepan, into which you must add:
One bottle of good red wine. I am using Mavrodaphne Red Wine of Patras Greece as it is nice and thick and sweet. Perfect for something like this.
100 ml base spirit, on this occasion I am using Williams Chase Gin.
15 ml of up to four liquors. Anything fruity, like peach schnapps, creme de cassis or apricot brandy works fine. Never include anything creamy, coffee or mint flavour.
The juice of two large oranges and two lemons. Don’t through away the husks, lob those in the pan too.
Half a spring of ginger, chopped into small cubes.
One large carton (approx 500 ml) of cranberry juice. Orange juice, or apple juice can alternatively be used.
Two large cinnamon sticks, each snapped in two.
One lemon or orange chopped into wedges. Stud the wedges with cloves by gently pushing them into the flesh of the fruit. You can also add fresh cranberries or soft fruit to the pan, if you have any.
Add one tablespoon of honey or brown sugar.
Gently heat the mix, for approximately 12 hours. Taste occasionally. If it is too sweet add lemon juice or margarita mix. If it is too sour add honey or more sweet fruit. Then allow the Mulled Wine to cool. Reheat your Mulled Wine an hour before you need it. Never allow it to boil, it will ruin the delicate flavour.
To serve, I normally ladle the Mulled Wine into a Latte glass. However the Italians invented a wonderful vessel known as the cup of friendship. As you can see each person gets their own spout to drink out of a communal cup. They like to fill it with grappa or coffee and pass it around at parties. However it is also ideal for Mulled Wine
So enjoy this seasonal cocktail, a true mix of European cultures.
Disclaimer: Never include in your Mulled wine any of the following – industrial alcohol, absinthe, or potcheen. I know people have in the past and it landed them in hospital.