Mulled Wine

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Hilary Tebb’s Mulled Wine Recipe

My mum says that she always does her mulled wine recipe differently and adapts depending on what she has to hand. The first rule of making mulled wine is that there is not one set rule or recipe and the second is that you should adapt what ingredients you do use to taste.  I don’t like it too sweet, but the quantity below can easily be adapted for those with a sweet tooth. If you want to save time you can buy pack of ready made spices. These Fair Trade muslin bags are the best I've used. Fair Trade Muslin Spice Packs

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Mulled Wine Ingredients and Method

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1 bottle of fruity red wine

 (We recommend Chianti) poured in to a large saucepan.
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Add ½ pint of orange or apple juice (My mum prefers apple, but I think orange is more festive for Christmas) You could also use cider.
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Infuse with a muslin bag filled with whole spices such as 4-5 Cloves, 1 Cinnamon stick,  1 whole vanilla pod – halved, Nutmeg, Mace.  Mixed or ground all spice could also be used.
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Sweeten to taste with brown sugar.  One tablespoon would suffice for me.
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Add sliced citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines or lemons.
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Heat through for at least 10 minutes, but don’t allow the liquid to boil or the alcohol will be burned off.
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Just before serving add a couple of measure of brandy or port for that added kick.

Enjoy!
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And if you're feeling extravagant, why not indulge in a luxury mulled wine warmer and glass set to top it all off – otherwise any old mug will do!

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Mulled Wine Warmer Set with Mulled Wine Pot & Mulled Wine Glasses | Christmas Mulled Wine Gift Set

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Mulled Wine Glasses and Warmer

My favourite mulled wine set!

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‘Tis the Season…  for a heart warming mug of the warm stuff

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Mulled Wine

Beaton's Book Of Household Management

I now declare the Mulled Wine season to be well and truly open!

Since turning back of the clocks in late October, Halloween and Bonfire night have provided us with early excuses for initiating this most ancient and festive European tradition.  For me, autumn ushers in a welcome seasonal change.  The damp, cool smell of autumn tempered by smoke from fires and fireworks is nostalgic, comforting and mysterious.  The colourful beauty of autumn is both striking and sad as British summer time comes to its natural end.  It’s time to retrieve those forgotten about, comfy woollies as you hark back to childhood and enjoy the surreptitious collection of conkers, spontaneous kicking of roadside fallen leaves and the low, early autumn sunset.

To accompany the wonderful assault on the senses that autumn brings us, are the old traditional culinary favourites of the northern hemisphere and particularly northern Europe.  Roast red meats, root vegetables, warming soups and stews, all chaperoned by wine that just doesn’t go with summer.  Out with the Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Sparking Rose and in with the hearty and robust Cabernets, Merlots and Chiantis.

My love of autumn begins with the fancy dress parties of Halloween in late October followed by bonfires, fireworks and the instigation of the prolonged period of winter festivals.  It’s an inherently more wicked and interesting time, which as a child I adored and as an adult still inspires in me an intense feeling of intrigue, comfort and belonging.  Then when it’s all over, there’s always Christmas to look forward to! To accompany the celebrations from Halloween ‘till Hogmanay, my mum always makes batches of toffee apples, pumpkin soup, hot dogs and mulled wine; the smell of autumn giving way to winter and a reason to embrace and enjoy the changing of the seasons.

Mulled wine is a drink enjoyed in differing variations in many European countries.  In Germany it’s Glühwein and is enjoyed mainly at Christmas and is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar.  In Bulgaria, it is called greyano vino (“heated wine”), and consists of red wine, honey and peppercorn.  In Croatia, kuhano vino (“cooked wine”) is made from red wine, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and orange zest.  In the Czech Republic, particularly the mountains such as the Giant Mountains, the popular mulled wine is called svařené víno (“boiled wine”).  In Hungary, forralt bor (“boiled wine”) is typically made from a cheap version of the country's popular Egri Bikavér.  In Italy, mulled wine is typical in the northern part of the country and is called vin brulé (“burned wine”).  In Latvia, it is called karstvīns (“hot wine”). When wine is scarce, it is prepared using grape (or currant) juice and Riga Black Balsam.  In Moldova, the izvar is made from red wine with black pepper and honey.  In Poland, grzane wino (“heated wine”) is very similar to the Czech variant, especially in the southern regions. There is also a similar method for preparing mulled beer or “grzane piwo” which is popular with Belgian beers because of the sweet flavor of that particular type of beer, which uses the same spices as mulled wine and is heated.  In Romania, it is called vin fiert (“boiled wine”), and can be made using either red or white wine, sometimes adding sugar and cinnamon.  In Russia, Глинтвейн (“Glintwein”) is a popular drink during winters and has same recipe as the German Glühwein.  In Serbia, kuvano vino (“boiled wine”) is made of red wine, sugar, cloves, nutmeg and served with a slice of lemon or orange.

The traditional British recipe on mulled wine was immortalised by Mrs Beeton in her ‘Book on Household Management’ (1865). It reads;

Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits.’

It continues…

 ‘The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.’

Naturally, I would like to recommend my mum’s delicious and outrageously popular version, which adapts Mrs Beeton’s traditional recipe, influenced by the citrus fruit commonly found in the German version of this seasonal favourite.

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Hilary Tebb’s Mulled Wine Recipe

My mum says that she always does this differently and adapts depending on what she has to hand. The first rule of making mulled wine is that there is not one set rule or recipe and the second is that you should adapt what ingredients you do use to taste.  I don’t like it too sweet, but the quantity below can easily be adapted for those with a sweet tooth.

Ingredients and Method

1 bottle of fruity red wine (We recommend Chianti) poured in a large saucepan.

Add ½ pint of orange or apple juice (My mum prefers apple, but I think orange is more festive for Christmas) You could also use cider.

Infuse with a muslin bag filled with whole spices such as 4-5 Cloves, 1 Cinnamon stick,  1 whole vanilla pod – halved, Nutmeg, Mace.  Mixed or ground all spice could also be used.

Sweeten to taste with brown sugar.  One tablespoon would suffice for me.

Add sliced citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines or lemons.

Heat through for at least 10 minutes, but don’t allow the liquid to boil or the alcohol will be burned off.

Just before serving add a couple of measure of brandy or port for that added kick.

Enjoy!

From the autumn to the spring equinox, mulled wine has been warming our cockles since medieval times.  As they say in Scotland around this time of year ‘the nights are fair drawing in’ and what a wonderful excuse for a mug of the good warm stuff.

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