Ah, it’s that season of the year again. With temperatures dropping and darkness settling in early come the fairy lights and Rat Pack Christmas songs everywhere. And with the first really cold day, you inevitably find yourself sipping a warming cup of mulled wine no matter how much you may sneer at the custom at other times of the year.
Mind, while mulled wine may sometimes be (and very often is) perfectly horrid, it does not have to be. It is quite easy to make a nice pot of the steaming brew, so no need to resort to the indeed ghastly pre-mixes found on the supermarket shelves at this time of the year. Instead, take a nice bottle of wine – it does not need to be your best vintage but it should be good enough so that you would drink it without adding sugar and spices to it. Use quality fruit and spices and make sure they combine – as a rule of thumb around three to four types of spices. – Ingested in reasonable portions and shared with friends and people close to you, you have a lovely cup that is just perfect to put you into a happy mellow mood and enjoy a festive time together.
The recipe below is one that works for me very well. It’s for white mulled wine which I prefer over the classic red as it is not quite as heavy tasting. Many people also enjoy an additional „booster“ in the form of rum or another liquor in their mulled wine. Nothing to say against that but I would say keep it minimal to not over-shadow the taste of the infused flavors (you put your efforts into it for a reason! 🙂 ).
Another tip: Christmas cookies and other bakes may be the more seasonable snack to be served together with mulled wine, but since the drink is already quite sweet I would recommend to stick to simple salted nuts or pretzel sticks.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
- 1 bottle of good quality dry white wine (e.g. Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) or Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris))
- 2-4 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 3 star anise
- 4 juniper berries, lightly pressed down with the back side of a spoon
- 5 cardamon capsules, lightly pressed down with the back side of a spoon
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1/2 orange, thinly sliced
- For serving (optional): 1/2 shot of amaretto
- For decoration: a few berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries), one star anise
- Pour the wine into a pot.
- Add the2 tablespoons of sugar, the spices and the orange.
- Warm up over low temperature. When hot and the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat but let the pot stay on the warm hob. Do not boil at any point in time!!
- Cover and let infuse for around 2-3 hours. Then pass through a sieve into another pot and discard the spices (you can keep the star anise for serving).
- To serve, warm up till hot, taste and add more sugar depending on taste. Serve with a half shot of amaretto (optional), and a star anise and a few berries per cup.