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Effervescent storyteller.

Welcome to My Modern Diary, an electronic journal filled with tales of nostalgic cuisine, wistful wanderings & personal recollections by Sarah Orman.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

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I absolutely love mulled wine. When the nights begin to get longer, colder and darker towards mid-November, I start to crave the stuff; the very thought of delicious holiday spices filling our home with fragrant festive cheer literally makes me giddy.

Image courtesy of Jodi Miller Photography

Having spent some time in continental Europe during the holiday season it's fair to say I've had my share of glögg, glühwein, vin chaud or whatever it is you like to call it. Just like anything that can be found almost anywhere in the world, there are hundreds of variations and recipes to choose from, making the subject of warm red wine a controversial one.

Controversy aside, experience taught me that, for the most part, it's hard to get mulled wine wrong. A good bottle of red, a handful of mulling spices, a dash of brandy or port in some circumstances and a little sugar for sweetening and you're in pretty good shape. That being said, I've often heard people fall into the trap of believing mulled wine deserves nothing more than a bottle of cheap table wine or a bottle that's been hiding for some time at the back of the cupboard. There is no doubt that a warm, cheap red spiked with liquor and masked with spices improves what would ordinarily be a mediocre drink, but unsurprisingly, nasty red wine makes for a less than desirable mulled beverage.

I'm not suggesting you open a bottle of Opus One here; that would be blasphemous. Equally however, a $2.00 bottle would be sinful in my opinion. I would personally suggest spending $8.00 - $15.00 a bottle, depending on your taste and budget of course.

So, as easy as this recipe is, please don't do it any injustice. Buy a decent bottle of Californian Cabernet, Zinfandel or any other bold, fruity red that will stand-up to the addition of spices, and be careful not to overheat it {alcohol evaporates at 173°F}. This is supposed to be mulled wine after all, not mulled grape juice : )

Mulled Wine
Recipe Type: Drinks
Author: Sarah Orman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or similar bold red wine
  • 1 unwaxed orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 50ml brandy or ruby port {if desired}
Instructions
  1. Peel the whole orange and then cut in half. Juice one half of the orange and discard the rest {use for a salad or eat it if you like!}
  2. Place juice, peel, sugar and spices in a saucepan.
  3. Add enough red wine to cover the sugar and then heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  4. Bring to the boil and cook for 4-6 minutes until you have a thick syrup.
  5. Reduce the heat and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan. Gently heat through, add the brandy or ruby port if you're looking for an extra kick and serve.

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Mince pies

Mince pies