Mulled wine is a festively spiced alternative to a hot toddy or a glass of warm cider on a wintery day, and has been a traditional Christmas drink across Europe for centuries.
It was originally designed to show off the wealth and generosity of a medieval household and is a Christmas drink that loves company (though feel free to enjoy a batch to yourself if that’s just the sort of day you’ve had).
For a truly authentic glug of Glühwein, head to one of Germany’s famous Christmas markets (Christkindlmärkte), where you can sip your tipple from a festive mug handcrafted specifically for just that year. Alternatively, embrace your inner Viking and grab a glass of glögg from Scandinavia, where this harmless warm punch is generously laced with fearsome spirits for extra warmth.
But if a pre-Christmas European escapade isn’t on the cards, don’t fret, because a glass of homemade mulled wine is a thankfully uncomplicated task (after all, there are enough holiday hurdles to overcome—making a drink shouldn’t be one of them), and one that leaves your home smelling like Christmas for weeks.
This recipe has been kindly supplied by Dennis Bond, Sous Chef at The Crabapple Café in Brackendale, who has been making mulled wine for over 20 years.
He recommends making it over a wood stove in an alpine hut, after a great day on the slopes. However, if mountain-made mulled wine isn’t doable, simply turn on the stove, dig out the slow cooker, or light a log fire and start mixing.
What You’ll Need
- 1 whole orange, sliced in rounds
- 1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
- 2 broken cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg, coarsely grated (approx 1/2 teaspoon)
- 10 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 litre red table wine
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2 litre sauce pan with lid
- Wooden stirring spoon
- Wire mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- 6oz ladle for serving
- Serving mugs (warmed)
Combine all the ingredients together and heat gently over low heat. Remove to cool for 30 minutes to one hour. Strain just prior to serving. Note that the spices can be retained for a further batch.
- Star anise (leave in as garnish)
- Chili flakes
- Bay leaf
- Demerara sugar
- Blood or Mandarin orange
- Fruit juice apple, orange.
- Brandy, Grand Marnier, Kirsch
Dennis’ top tips for tip-top Mulled Wine
- Forget the fancy stuff—a bottle of table wine is perfectly good
- Watch the heat. The key is to cook it slow and low
- Don’t forget to invite some friends—mulled wine loves the company of others