Don’t be tempted to buy those cruddy premade ‘convenient’ sachets for making mulled wine – you’re ripping yourself off both in cost, flavour and fun 🙂 It’s a great wintery beverage, and depending on how much water you add, your non wine drinking friends might like it too. And the recipe is so simple, I really wonder why the even bother selling sachets.
What you’ll need:
A bottle of Red Wine (750mls)
A zesty fruit like an Orange or a Lemon
A bit of water
2 Cinnamon quills/sticks
3 heaped tbsp Sugar
Gently does it:
- Set a pot on the stove on it’s gentlest temperature and add your wine (you can also gently heat it on the top of your fire/log burner).
- Add about a glass of water (of course, if you’re hardcore you may prefer not to add water, but it makes a lighter drink and goes a little further too) – you can add more to taste, depending on the wine.
- Peel the Orange or Lemon (with a vegetable peeler) and add the zest only to the pot with the cloves, cinnamon quills and sugar. As a general rule, I use about 3 small palms full of sugar, which I guess is about 3 heaped tablespoons – I’ve used white sugar and organic raw sugar. Both work equally nice.
- Stir often to dissolve the sugar and infuse the wine with the spices. Don’t let it simmer or boil. The idea is to gently heat and infuse.
- Taste and adjust the sugar or water to taste.
- Drink straight away, or you can let it sit to keep warm on a very gentle fire, but its best drunk hot.
- Serving is easiest with a soup ladle and into short wine glasses, and see who gets the random clove at the end – there’s always one the get’s through.
I prefer a Shiraz, Shiraz Cabernet or Cabernet Sauvignon for mulled wine and while it may hurt to spend $20 on a nicer bottle, of course it’s much nicer. Some people argue its a waste too, so each to their own. I prefer a Peter Lehmanns (mmm, Barossa Valley), but a Jacobs Creek is quite good too, and can be regularly found on special at the super market. Our last attempt used a Wyndym Estate which turned out great.
That said, this is also a bloody good way to get rid of that cheap bottle someone left at a dinner party. Not only does it remove the label from eyesight (and you can deftly avoid questions about it when people ask, or simply vague out), it makes even banrock station and ruben hall almost drinkable – yey water!
There you have it. An enjoyable drink to celebrate winter. Good on its own, or with dinner (or should I say, supper) with some nice homemade soup and bread in front of a warm fire. Try it a few times, play with the amount of ingredients to suit your tastes – the recipe is very basic so don’t be shy.