Baby, it's cold outside! Cozy up with a glass of hot mulled wine.
My first taste...I was working in corporate headquarters for a Fortune 500 company in Pennsylvania. Young and single, my indulgence was getting my hair done. It was a bitterly cold winter's day, and my hairdresser handed me something different than my usual glass of wine...it was hot! After a moment of confusion (hot wine?), my senses kicked in...this feels good...so warm in my hands...smells sweet and heady...what is this?!
Let me introduce you to this nectar of the gods known as hot mulled wine, so you may share it with friends and family and spread good cheer!
There are no strict rules for making hot mulled wine, but there are a few general guidelines.
First, begin with a red wine, but don't break the bank on it since it will be blended with fruits like a sangria. Citrus fruits such as oranges and tangerines work well. Usually honey is added, but some people use sugar. Spices such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla beans, and star anise are typically incorporated. You might want to try fresh ginger, but if you do, use a small amount as it can easily overpower the other flavors. Lastly, some like to add a splash or more of brandy or other spirits.
I used what I had on hand.
You can buy pre-made mulling spices, like these from Williams Sonoma, or make your own.
My husband had just finished the last of our honey making baklava for Thanksgiving, so I substituted a lovely ginger syrup and honey liqueur.
Gather your wine, spices, brandy, honey. Slice your fruit. Put it all in a pan (a crock pot on the 'keep warm' setting is perfect for a party), and warm up over low heat. I used a cast iron Le Creuset fondue pot with a heat diffuser to keep the temperature low and steady.
You want it to gently simmer, but not come to a boil, for about a half hour or more. I like to add the honey and brandy right before serving.
You can also mull your wine, strain it, and put it in the fridge to heat up one glass at a time!
In fact, I wrote this blog post while savoring the last of the mulled wine that I made four days ago.
I hope you are inspired to make your own hot mulled wine!