Mulled Wine: More Art than Science

By: Kayla Forbes

Image credit: Giphy

It’s the perfect time of year to grab a mug of mulled wine while cozied up in your holiday sweater and gathering with your favorite people. Heck, it’s even perfect for gatherings with your least favorite people. Mulled wine just makes everything better.

Since this is one of my favorite winter beverages, I wanted to share a recipe that has worked for me and appeals to my busy life (it’s easy!) but also the foodie in me (it’s so worth the tiny bit of effort).

Many northern hemisphere cultures have their take on mulled wine. Most use a base of water, sugar, cloves, orange and cinnamon, but a quick search and you’ll see combinations with lemon, cranberry, nutmeg and star anise, raisins and more. Then there are the additions you can make adding a sniff of brandy or two.

To keep things simple I stuck to a German style gluehwein recipe and and left out any option for adding more alcohol. I tried two red bottles, one was a bottle of Marquette from Chankaska, the other was French wine, Côtes du Rhône. Both were $20 or less found at local liquor stores. Both both worked perfectly with this recipe.

You can easily find some premixed mulling spices for hot apple cider in the spice section at the grocery store – but the challenge is you can’t choose what to add to adjust to your taste AND you have to do some fun math to translate the spices required for a gallon of cider to 750 mL of wine. But mulling is not a science, it’s more of an art so do what works for you.

This recipe was perfect for Marquette, bringing out the red fruits and it lent itself to be softly spiced. You’ll have trouble only drinking one glass. This would be perfect to bring to a holiday party, staying warmed in a crock pot or on a stovetop. I’ve rewarmed it, and it is just as good the second day. Enjoy!

I slightly adjusted a recipe found from Genius Kitchen:

Ingredients
1 C of water
1 C of turbinado sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 750 mL bottle of Marquette wine (or other red wine)

Directions

  1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan then bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.
  2. Add the juice of the orange to the sugar mixture, retaining the peels. Place the cloves in the orange’s peel and flatten the peels so they can lay in the sugar mixture. Add the peels to the sugar mixture making sure the peels are submerged. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the orange peels and cinnamon stick, taking care to squeeze as much liquid as you can from the peels.
  4. Add in the bottle of wine until it is thoroughly heated, but not simmering. Then serve in a mug. (Feel free to allow mixture to simmer in order to meld flavors more and/or reduce alcohol level.)

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