Mulled Wine: Easy & Delicious
Mulled Wine Recipe
I remember that it was Halloween 1975 in Basingstoke, England. We went to see a new theatre production that evening - appropriately it was a performance of Dracula. To our utter delight, in the interval the audience was served mulled wine and garlic bread. I can still taste them now - delicious. Ever since then, these two items have been traditionally served in my household every October 31st.
Garlic bread and mulled wine to repel vampires
Garlic, you see, is well known for keeping vampires at bay. (That's because vampires originated at that side of the pond - we've been dealing with them for hundred of years. You could say we're the experts.)
The mulled wine ... well, I'm not precisely sure what devilments that's supposed to counteract but wine is always a good idea and for generations it has been served during the winter months in Europe. Well, every month, if truth be told.
A flexible recipe
The wonderful thing about mulled wine is that you can adapt it so much to suit your own tastes. You can vary the spices and flavours. You can add a shot to perk things up even more (I do). Or it can be designated driver-friendly. (For parties and gatherings, I make one boozy one and one alcohol-free). For your garlic bread, try this easy recipe.
Quick & easy
Here's all you need:
- 2 bottles good red wine
- 1 - 2 cinnamon sticks (depending on size & your tastes)
- Grated nutmeg (fresh)
- 1 orange, sliced (with extra to decorate if you wish)
- 1 bay leaf
- Cloves (about ten)
- Sugar or honey to taste
- Optionally, one shot glass of gin, brandy or rum
- Decant the red wine into a large pan with all the other ingredients except the shot (if using).
- Heat the wine very gently. Note that I don't allow it to boil as that would a) reduce the amount via evaporation and b) reduce, if not completely remove, the alcoholic content. If you're preparing this for children or designated drivers, it seems a shame to boil the alcohol away so I use alcohol free wine or, if I'm on a budget, inexpensive grape juice.
- Add honey or sugar to taste, stirring it in well. I prefer to use honey these days. The amount depends on how sweet you'd like the drink to be - keep tasting until you've got it how you like it (what a great excuse!)
- Allow to simmer gently until the wine is warmed through - about 5 - 8 minutes is enough.
- If you're adding a shot of liquor, do it when you've removed the pan from the heat and stir it in well.
- Strain and serve hot. If you like, decorate with orange slices.
Useful products to serve your mulled wine
These are my own favourites.
These gorgeous glasses are perfect for serving hot or cold beverages. Because they have a double layer, the beverage will stay at the right temperature.
But they will still be comfortable to hold in your hand and it's even OK to put them on polished furniture. And they are SO stylish.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson