“Winter is coming”, as a nice writer put it. Actually, winter is already upon us, but I really think this tutorial is still useful. After all, we look at more than a few cold days and nights ahead.
Mulled wine is a recipe as old as wine itself. At some point in the Middle Ages it was considered to be a recipe against catching a cold, curing one already caught and even for protection against the plague. But most importantly, it warmed the drinker in a way no hearth fire could do. If you are planning on spending an evening by the fire, or even outdoors, a few cups of well-made mulled wine should not be missing from your side.
One of the best parts about this thing is that you don’t need to use an extremely good wine to achieve a good result. Once it simmers, the bouquet usually loses some of its flavor, and a low priced wine will do just as good. Also, you throw in a lot of spices that will overcome or interfere with the original product, so using a vintage doesn’t help much. Just get a bottle of red wine from the store and don’t go for the high price tag.
Then you’ll need a stick of cinnamon, a halved orange, a grated nutmeg, honey or sugar, and a tablespoon of fresh ginger. You could really skip all these add-ons and simply buy allspice created especially for wine, but from my personal experience it’s not the same thing.
Pour the wine in a bowl or saucepan and place it on medium to low heat. Then add all of the other ingredients on top of it. Mind you, use sugar or honey accordingly to your taste. If you’re not into sweetness, don’t go overboard with it. I wouldn’t really suggest leaving it out completely as the mulled wine will get a somewhat sour taste. Leave the pan on the fire until it simmers, stirring gently. Once it simmers, turn the heat down to minimum level and leave it on for about ten minutes. Stir it every two minutes. You have to be absolutely sure the sugar or honey has dissolved by then.
When the ten minutes are elapsed, remove the pan from the heat and wait for it to cool down a bit, and then you can serve. Try not to pour any of the ingredients in the serving cups. This is to be consumed while hot. Keep in mind it has a fair dose of alcohol, even though some of it has been boiled away, so be mindful of your driving or working. Also, another important issue: if you do this on a gas oven and you have a gas alarm installed, you must know it will probably go off at some point due to the alcohol vapors. It is a false alarm, really, but it happened many times and should it happen to you, don’t get scared, it’s no gas leaking.
Oana is an active member of an online community – Lacartes.com, where people can share recipes, photos, videos, discover great local businesses and products. For the cold days of winter, mulled wine is the solution.