The festive season for me is all about the fantastic smells that you don’t get at any other time of the year and nothing says Christmas better than an aromatic glass of mulled wine.
Mulled wine is essentially a hot, sweetened red wine made aromatic with the addition of citrus fruits and warming spices such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Wine was first recorded as being heated and spiced back in 1st century Rome. As the Romans travelled across Europe they brought with them wine and viticulture, and their mulled wine recipes!
In Germany and Austria mulled wine is called Gluvine (Glühwein) which roughly is translated as ‘glow-wine’ from the hot irons used during the mulling process. In Sweden they refer to it as Glögg. Fruit wines (the likes of blueberry wine and cherry wine) are occasionally used instead of grape, however its red wine that is the key ingredient here, plus fruits and spices.
Spice up this season with these recipes for mulled wine.
1) French Mulled Wine
- 1 bottle Beaujolais Nouveau or any light bodied red wine
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 small orange, thinly sliced
Wrap the following spices into a piece of cheesecloth and tie with a string:
- 2 cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches long)
- 5 cardamom pods
- 3 black peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- For the sugar syrup:
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups water
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the spice bag, wine, vanilla, lemon and orange slices and on low heat bring it to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Do not let the wine boil.
Ladle into mugs and garnish with a lemon or orange slice along with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
2) A Healthier Mulled Wine
- 1 750ml bottle of red wine(medium bodied)
- 3 cups of water
- ¼ cup raisins
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cardamom pods
- 5 allspice berries
- 1” chunk of ginger, sliced and crushed using mortar and pestle
- 2 oranges, wedged
- 1 lemon, quartered
Optional: Top each cup with 1 tsp brandy
In a saucepan, simmer the water with honey, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice and ginger for 15 minutes.Turn down the heat to low and add the wine. Stir in the orange wedges and lemon quarters. Continue to heat for another 10-15 minutes on a slow simmer.Serve immediately and enjoy!!
3) Riesling Rosemary Mulled Wine
- 1/2cup water
- 1/2cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp rosemary
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 lemon peels
- 2 bottles riesling white wine
Simmer (but not boil) the water, sugar, rosemary, and honey for 10 minutes. Add in the wine. Add in the lemon peels. Let simmer for 5 minutes or so to seep in the flavors, without boiling. Strain out the larger bits and serve immediately!!
4) Spiced Non Alcoholic Apple Punch
- 2 litres cloudy apple juice
- 1 large orange
- 1 lemon
- 2cm fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cloves
- 5-6 peppercorns
Zest the lemon and orange and then cut the fruits into quarters. Next, simply place all the ingredients in a large pan, heat gently and let it simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Do not let it boil. Strain before serving and enjoy!!