’Tis the season for the cosiest alcoholic drink possible – mulled wine. This Christmas favourite is the go-to for the festive season, and to boot it’s very simple to make and only uses one pot.
Warming and delicious, mulled wine is perfect for the miserable weather Britons usually experience in December.
Mulled wine is derived from when the Victorians used spices to preserve wine on long transportations.
There are varying spices and techniques used for mulling wine, but there are three main spices in any ingredient list: orange, cinnamon and star anise.
You should use a full-bodied wine to get the best flavour, avoiding the likes of pinot noir and other lighter wines.
200 g caster sugar
Six whole cloves
One cinnamon stick
Three fresh bay leaves
One whole nutmeg , for grating
One vanilla pod
Two bottles Chianti or other Italian red wine
Two star anise
Follow this Jamie Oliver recipe for delicious mulled wine:
Peel large sections of peel from the clementines, lemon, and lime using a peeler.
Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice.
Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg.
Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let it simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil.
Keep on a rolling boil for about five minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup.
The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine.
It’s important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.
When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine.
Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into heatproof glasses and serve.