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Mulled Wine

Christian Gott shares his mulled wine recipe as well as an alcohol-free alternative

Mulled Wine, and similarly Mulled Cider, are popular drinks over the Christmas season. They are served hot, often sweetened with sugar or honey, and flavoured with a variety of spices, oranges, and lemons. You can add a slug of port or brandy to give it an extra kick. Mulled is very similar to Nordic Glögg or Germany Glühwein, which was first recorded in the early fourteen hundreds and is drunk today with spiced gingerbread.


Mulled wine has changed over time with the vagaries of taste and fashion, one of the more traditional recipes was recorded by Mrs. Beeton in her famous cookery book using cloves, mace, and nutmeg. It also lists the wines to be mulled as claret and port, I reckon a tankard of hot port would pack quite a punch, however. It is called a Smoking Bishop and is made with caramelised citrus fruit and is mentioned in Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’.


Today you can buy the spices for Mulled wine already prepared as a sugar-based syrup or in little bags like T-bags. They are usually a combination of citrus peel, ground clove, cinnamon pieces, nutmeg, star anise and ginger. In recipes, I have seen bay leaves, cardamom and vanilla pods included so you could experiment until you are happy. Personally, I think that would be quite a nice way to spend an afternoon.


Top tips

• Use whole spices not ground spices which will make your drink grainy

• Choose a soft, fruit forward red wine – look for jammy on the label, New World Californian Zinfandel and Australian Merlot are ideal, as is classic, lush plummy St. Emilion, from France

• Alcohol starts to evaporate at around 78 degrees Celsius so do not boil your mulled wine

• Allow time for the spices to infuse before serving

Mulled Wine

Enough for 4 small or 2 large glasses


INGREDIENTS

• 1 bottle good Red Wine

• 60g Demerara Sugar

• 1 Cinnamon Stick

• 2 Star Anise

• 2 Cloves

• A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

• 1 orange, sliced into 1-centimetre slices

• 60ml Port, Brandy or Sloe Gin (optional)


METHOD

1. Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, and the spices. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter and add more sugar to taste.

2. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to infuse.

3. Strain into another pan and reheat, stir in the sloe gin, port, or brandy if you are using it, and serve.


Non-Alcoholic Mulled Fruit Punch

You can make non-alcoholic mulled wine using a non-alcoholic wine in the recipe above and omitting the port, brandy, or sloe gin. If you don’t want a wine-based recipe, why not try this mulled fruit punch? Prepare the same way.


INGREDIENTS

• 400ml Cranberry or Pomegranate juice

• 400ml clear Apple juice

• 60g Demerara Sugar

• Juice and zest of 2 lemons

• 1 Cinnamon Stick

• 2 Star Anise

• 2 Cloves

• A pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg

• 1 orange, sliced into 1-centimetre slices


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