What is mulled wine? And how to make a really good one…
The story of mulled wine is one steeped in history, originating way back in the 2nd century in the camps of the Roman legions as they spread across Europe. Heating wine helped hold back the cold as their forces moved further from the warmth of Rome.
Originally it is believed the Romans only heated wine and that the addition of spices was a later development by the Europeans that had adopted this Roman favourite. The belief was that when spices added to the warm wine, it would aid health and avoid illness. The addition of spices also offered a mask to less palatable wine.
It hasn’t always been a steady rise to fame for Mulled wine, though. Following its surge in popularity during the height of the Roman empire, the popularity of this heated drink slowly faded across Europe, except for one country. Sweden seems to be the savour of Mulled wine as they couldn’t get enough of the winter warmer. They even created a version which blended wine and milk (Lutendrank). The Swedes named their drink Glögg and here began the resurgence of mulled wine.
Around 1800 Glögg’s took the next step in popularity as Cognac became a popular addition, this led to Glögg’s becoming a drink associated with Christmas in the Nordic countries. Wine merchants soon got back on the mulled wine train, each offering their twist on the classic.
The following centuries saw mulled wine become the globally recognised drink of Christmas that it is today. Recognised the world over it doesn’t matter which country you find yourself in around December, you won’t be far from a warm glass of Mulled wine, Glühwein, Glögg, Kuhano, Greyano, Candola or Vin chaud rto name a few of it titles.
But the most crucial question is, how do I make a batch of this delicious winter warmer? We have a simple recipe that takes 20 minutes to make ten people happy.
You’ll need to get yourself the following:
2 Clementines , 1 Lemon, 1 Lime, 200g Caster sugar, 6 Whole cloves, 1 Cinnamon stick, 1 Whole nutmeg, 1 Vanilla pod, 2 Star anise, 2 Bottles of red wine (We suggest an Italian red)
This is how you put them together:
- Peel your Lemon, Lime and Clementines
- Place the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and add your peel and clementine juice
- Add your cloves, cinnamon and about 15 gratings of nutmeg.
- Halve your vanilla pod and stir everything together
- Pour enough wine into the saucepan to cover the sugar
- Simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and then bring to the boil
- Keep boiling until the wine starts to thicken
- Turn down your heat and add your star anise and add the rest of your wine.
- Heat for around 5 minutes, and you’re ready to serve