For those of you contemplating making mulled wine (perhaps after sampling some at the Winter Fair…) here’s my recipe. It should make just over a litre, but you can of course vary the amounts to increase (or decrease) how much wine you get. This was only my first attempt but it was very easy – not to mention successful – so I’ll certainly be making it again. I bought all of the ingredients on Mill Road.
- 1 x cinnamon stick
- A small pinch of ground nutmeg
- About 15 cloves
- Around ten small pieces of dried ginger
- 75g of demerara sugar
- 75cl bottle of red wine
- About 300ml of boiling water
- An orange
Firstly, boil the water in a kettle. Then pour it into a saucepan on a medium heat on the hob and add your cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and ten of your cloves – these were just the spices that I chose to use, but you could try all sorts of spices and flavourings such as bay leaves, cardamom, vanilla pods, fruit peel and honey. Stick the rest of the cloves into one half of your orange, then cut it in half (I learnt the hard way that it’s much easier to stick the cloves in to the orange before you cut it) and add the cloved half to the pan, skin side up. Stir for a minute then add the sugar, stirring for another minute or so. Then let this mixture simmer (so that it’s bubbling gently) for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
It’s now time to add your chosen red wine and you can just pour it all in to the mixture in one go – I’m not normally a red wine drinker and am particularly averse to Merlot, so I chose a fruity Chilean Cabernet Sauvigon. Keep the mixture on the hob and gently heat it, stirring occasionally. A couple of the recipes I looked at said to be careful that it doesn’t boil as this could apparently impair the flavour – but I have to admit I let mine boil and it certainly didn’t seem to do any harm. Once you’ve heated the mixture your mulled wine is ready to serve. The best way to do this (both to avoid spillage and also to stop bits of spice ending up in your drink) is to place a sieve over a pouring jug and pour the desired amount of wine in through it. You can then pour the contents of your jug into glasses.
I would suggest serving in thick glasses or ones with handles, as otherwise it can be a bit hot to handle. From your remaining orange half, cut slices and attach them over the side of each glass – for decoration, but it also adds a nice boost of orangey flavour to the wine when placed in the bottom of the glass. Mr Mill Road and I didn’t want to drink all our mulled wine in one go, so went back to the saucepan and reheated when it was time for second and third glasses. I had expected the cooling and reheating to do funny things to the flavour, but it didn’t and each glass of mulled wine was just as enjoyable as the last. I should say that as it is a hot drink, it can be easy to forget how much alcohol you are drinking, so try not to overdo it – a couple of glasses is probably just enough to warm the cockles on a cold winters evening. You can enjoy your mulled wine on its own, or as I did accompanied by some chocolate truffles – I had made some dark chocolate & dragon ginger ones earlier in the day and they were the perfect addition.