Writer Nina Bossicart shares her favourite recipe for the ideal festive mulled wine.
This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe, and is the one my mum makes every year. It can be adapted for white wine or cider, and can also be lower-alcohol if you bring the wine to a boil and stir for a few minutes. Alcohol-free wine can also be used. If you’ve decided to use red wine, I recommend going with something fruity and full-bodied, like a Merlot, but nothing too fancy. This is also the perfect opportunity to buy boxed wine if you’re making a large quantity! The recipe consists of making a syrup with all the flavours and then adding the wine afterwards. This allows the cinnamon and other spices to infuse into your drink without evaporating all the alcohol. I chose to use fresh clementines, but if all you have is shop-bought orange juice it will do just fine! You can also add the peel from other citrus fruits if that’s what you have on hand. I recommend using cinnamon, star anise and cloves for a real Christmassy taste, but ginger would work beautifully if making this recipe with apple cider.
1 bottle of red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Cointreau to taste
Begin by placing the sugar in a large pot with all of your seasonings: cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg and bay leaf. Add the peel and juice of the clementine. Stir in enough wine to cover the sugar, and let it boil until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns into a thick syrup (about 5-7 minutes on medium heat). It should be thick enough to cover the back of your spoon, but don’t let it burn!
Once the syrup is made, add the rest of your wine and let it come to a simmer. Keep the liquid to a low heat, as alcohol can evaporate as low as 70°C. The wine is too hot if you can see it smoking. Let it gently heat up on low for 5-10 minutes, stirring, until it’s warm enough to drink. When ready, add 2-3 glugs of Cointreau to serve (rum, whiskey or whatever you have on hand would work too). Enjoy!
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