Adding sweeteners and spices to wine then serving it hot – sounds a bit like herbal tea with alcohol, doesn’t it? – was something I never understood. I’m giving it another look this Christmas season because I happen to like herbal tea, it’s something new (to me anyway), and I’ve got some bland wine that I don’t know what to do with. I was excited when I made wine from supermarket grapes, but in the end I didn’t want to drink it. Sweetening didn’t help, but maybe mulling will.
In researching mulled wine (in cookbooks, Wikipedia, search engines, my Mom), the same ingredients keep coming up:
|Ingredient||Amount per Bottle of Wine|
|citris (juice and/or zest)||from half an orange or one lemon|
|sugar or honey||about half a cup|
Also common are vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamon. You sometimes see pepper, peppercorns, nuts, and raisins too.
Making Mulled Wine
Dissolved sugar or honey in water (about half a cup to a cup – enough to dissolve and cover everything, but no more), bring to a boil, take off heat, add spices, and cover. If using citrus juice, use a little more sugar/honey and a little less water. Let sit on low heat for about 20 minutes. Strain and add wine. Heat the combined mixture (but don’t boil) and serve hot.
This ought to work just as well with mead or cider – maybe even beer.
You can omit the water and stir everything into the wine, then heat the wine – I’ve seen recipes take either approach. I prefer to do the dissolving and extraction separately to guard against boiling the wine.
Straining out the spices might be easier if you use a tea bag or tea ball.
Citrus juice might help by adding flavor if your wine is bland. If you’re going to be zesting, for mulled wine or anything else, a dedicated zesting tool is a godsend.
I’m excited about making mulled wine this year. I haven’t decided on a commercial mix or making it from scratch – maybe I’ll try both. I’d love to hear about your experiences with mulled wine – triumphs, disasters, better methods. If you’re having trouble finding supplies, check out my new mulled wine store.
Update 12/13/2010 – A great eggnog recipe!
Eggnog is another tasty treat for the holidays, and this eggnog recipe won’t disappoint!
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