“Wine is fit for man in a wonderful way provided that it is taken with good sense by the sick as well as the healthy”, Hippocrates (ca. 460-370 BCE).
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What is Mulled Wine?
Mulled wine is wine that’s been heated up, along with some spices and sometimes a little sugar (as in mine) and is served hot. It is a very popular drink in winter and all around Europe and the US, especially at Christmas time.
I’m a huge fan of this fragrant, spicy drink ever since my very first sip, one very snowy Christmas eve in Paris, over 20 years ago.
There are many, many versions all across Europe, with each country having its own twist and name to it.
Mulled Wine Recipe
Is there really an art to making mulled wine? Some would have you think so. To me, there really is no hard and fast rule about what exact spices and how much of them you put in your mulled wine, it really is a matter of taste, after all, the term “mulled” simply means heated and spiced up.
Some years ago, I came across a mulled wine recipe in a medieval book dating back to 1390, “The Forme of Cury”. This recipe called for a host of spices, not just the usual cinnamon, cloves and cardamom but galangal too! In the 14th century? I still find that incredible!
I make my Mulled Wine with a touch of Cointreau, to complement all that citrus, and brandy for added flavour.
We start off with a small amount of water, wine and sugar, to allow the spices and citrus to party before adding the rest of the alcohol. After all, we don;t want all that alcohol evaporating, do we?
Mulled Wine History
How far back does mulled wine go? For a long time, the first recorded accounts of heated up and spiced wine goes back to the Romans in the second century, but recently, historians have started to believe that it dates much further back, to the ancient Egyptians, with the discovery of some medicinal herbs in their wine jars.
However old the idea of mulling wine goes, it certainly is a popular one as there are many variations to the theme all around the world: Glögg in Sweden, vino navega’o in Chile, vin chaud in France, just to name a few.
Shall we get our aprons on and make us some mulled wine?
More Winter Drinks on LinsFood
- 750 ml bottle of good quality, fruity red wine or wine of your choice (1 bottle)
- 100 g white sugar
- 1 unwaxed orange sliced in rings
- 1 unwaxed lemon sliced in rings
- 1 unwaxed lime sliced in rings
- 2.5 cm fresh ginger, sliced
- 3 cloves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 60 ml Cointreau
- 60 ml good quality brandy
- Place all the ingredients apart from the alcohol into a small-medium sized saucepan and add just enough wine to cover the sugar, perhaps about 100ml.
- Heat on medium until the sugar has dissolved, stirring well.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, to allow the spicy citrus flavour to develop slightly.
- Add the rest of the wine, Cointreau and brandy and continue to heat on low heat. After 5 minutes or so, it should have warmed through and be ready to be served. I like to leave it on the lowest heat setting and top up my glass as needed.