“No, mulled wine!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this exact conversation. It’s usually followed by me trying to explain the beauty that is hot wine. Apparently it’s not so mainstream yet. But as soon as I heard that this month’s Recipe ReDux theme was “Beverages Are Hot,” I knew that this was what I was going to make.
I was first introduced to mulled wine when I was 19 and travelling around the world. About this time of year, the group I was with was in Prague where there was definitely still a chilly bite to the air. One night a few friends and I decided to get dessert. I noticed that the drink menu at the restaurant included hot, spiced wine and I just knew I had to try it. It was deliciously warm with hints of cinnamon, citrus, and nutmeg. I was instantly in love. Lucky for me, I soon realized that all those stands on the street weren’t selling Styrofoam cups of coffee; they were actually selling cups of hot wine! Needless to say, I spent the rest of that trip sipping on mulled wine and feeling much warmer as a result.
Since then I’ve ventured into making it myself. I’ve decided that simpler is better, and I tend to keep my mulled wine spices to just cloves and cinnamon. I also like to add a little citrus, and this time around I just happened to have some blood oranges in the fridge. One of my friends mentioned that just a dash of gin at the end makes for an exceptional cup of mulled wine, and I have to say, I completely agree. And, of course, I keep the sweetener down to a minimum. The truth is, I like my regular wine dry and red, and I see no reason to have mulled wine any other way, so I tend to add just a little squeeze of honey into my mug.
Next time you find yourself snowed in or watching a cold rainy day go by, you should try making some hot, mulled wine. If you’re a wine fan, it doesn’t get much better than this.
2 cups red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 blood orange, sliced
1 shot of gin (optional, but highly recommended)
Honey, to taste
1. Pour the wine into a small saucepan. Add in the cinnamon, cloves, and orange. Simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Pour the gin into the wine and stir briefly. Divide the wine into two mugs, and mix in honey to taste.