On cold nights when the decorations are up and the fire is burning, there’s a drink we Brits turn to, which warms us up and fill us with all kinds of Christmas joy. Yes, you guessed correctly; it’s mulled wine of course! Despite having an ancient history, this popular drink is almost exclusively drunk during the Christmas season nowadays. Some of our best corporate Christmas parties will involve mulled wine at some point. It’s that perfect combination of festive flavours, with a cheeky kick to get all the conversation and sing-alongs going.
If you don’t already know, mulled wine is a blend of red wine, sweeteners in the form of sugars and fruit and a variety of mixed spices that will flavour the drink. What goes into this spice mix has been up for debate and has changed over the many centuries that this drink has existed.
Wine originally came to our shores with the Romans. They were experts in all things vino, but entering colder climates such as Scotland, created an understandably need for a hot drink. Their impressive empire allowed them to bring spices in from all over the world, and thus a heated spiced wine drink was invented! Fast forward 1000 years and the mulled wine we recognise today was found in a medieval cookbook. The ‘Forme of Cury’ is a cookbook from 1390 which has a printed recipe for mulled wine inside. So if you think about it, you’re literally drinking history when you indulge in the mulled wine at Christmas!
The beverage has gone through many iterations over the years, and all the famous names in the world of cooking have had a go. Delia and Jamie Oliver are just two who have created their very own interpretations. But with all these variations around, what is the perfect recipe for the ultimate mulled wine after all this time? Well you’re in luck, as we’ve found it and made sure to write it down so you can make the perfect festive drinks every year. Who knows, in a thousand years, maybe someone will find this blog…
Enough for 12 servings
- 2 unwaxed oranges
- 1 lemon, peel only
- 150g caster sugar
- 5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
- 5 cardamom pods, bruised
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
- 150ml ginger wine
The first step is to pre-heat a large saucepan. While this is on, peel and juice a whole orange and pour into the pan along with the peel of one lemon. The sugar and spice all go in afterwards. Cover the ingredients with red wine, but only so they are just covered. Mix this with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved. Then boil on high heat for 5 minutes, reducing the mixture until a thick like syrup.
While the syrup is forming, prepare another orange by cutting it in to six equal segments. Stud the skin with cloves in a straight line. These will be used as a garnish for the final drink.
The last step is all about melding the flavours together. You’ll want to infuse the wine with that amazing syrup you’ve just created! Turn the heat down, pour the remaining red wine in and leave it on a low simmer. Add the ginger wine and when it’s suitably hot , you’re ready to serve! Just make sure you leave it on a low heat when serving.
Mulled wine can be a ‘love it or hate it’ part of the holidays, but no matter how much of a scrooge you are, this tasty recipe will make you fall in love again with this delicious drink!