What’s wintertime made of? Wine and spice and all things nice! There’s nothing more comforting than a warm glass of mulled wine on a cold evening. There are many variations to it, so keep reading for the best mulled wine recipe.
Which wine to use?
If you’ve ever had a disappointing mulled wine, you may suspect that it’s merely a trick to palm off substandard wine on guests – but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you’re going to all the effort of faffing about with spices, use a decent wine. A fruity, unoaked red like a Chilean merlot is a great match or if you are on a budget use our Beaverdale Merlot.
History of mulled wine
Spiced wine can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt, where wine was often spiced with pine resin and figs to ensure a safe transition to the afterlife. However, mulled wine was widely popularised by the Romans, who heated wine to keep warm in winter. As the Romans conquered much of Europe, their love for mulled wine spread across their empire.
In medieval Europe, heated wine was mixed with spices because it was believed they guarded against sickness. This led to very heavily spiced recipes, like that from the fourteenth-century cookbook The Forme of Cury. The strong spices also helped to make unpalatable wines taste better.
Over time, the craze for mulled wine faded across most of Europe except for Sweden, where ‘glögg’ became associated with Christmas in the 1890s. Bottles of glögg, which often had labels depicting Santa Claus, began to be distributed throughout the rest of Europe. This created the modern association with the festive season.
Mulled Wine Recipe
This recipe makes about 12 servings. It’s a good idea to make a big batch of the syrup for use throughout the festive season. Allow the syrup to cool and pour it into sterilised bottles.
2 unwaxed oranges, peel only (or buy ready-dried peel)
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of red wine
150ml ginger wine
1. Add the orange and lemon peel, sugar and spices to a large saucepan.
2. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
3. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until you have a thick syrup.
4. Turn the heat down and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan, along with the ginger wine.
5. Gently heat through and serve.
There are many variations possible with this recipe. If you like your festive tipple a bit stronger, Scandinavian Glögg traditionally contains spirits as well as wine. Why not try adding a glug of cinnamon Schnapps or brandy? And if all the spices seem a bit too much effort, you can simply opt for a ready-made spice mix.