Hot mulled wine is a lovely cold-weather treat. There are many different mulled wine recipes available online but they typically share certain common ingredients: wine, fruit, sugar or honey, and spices.
If you’d like to make your own mulled wine, purchase a good-quality wine (red is typically used, though some recipes call for white or a blend of red and white). Because the wine will be cooked, many people believe that quality doesn’t matter, but it actually has a significant impact on the flavour of the finished product. Some recipes also require a small quantity of brandy (unless you’re in a Scandinavian country, where vodka is often used). Recipes that require brandy typically call for around 1/4 cup for one to three bottles of wine.
You’ll also need some fruit. The most popular choices are citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. A recipe may call for peels, diced fruit pieces, or both. Some recipes also include berries or figs, and some require a small amount of orange or apple juice or apple cider as well. Fruit types and quantities vary significantly from one recipe to the next (see the recipes at the bottom of this page for variations).
Another key ingredient is a little honey or sugar, typically caster or brown. Be careful not to make it too sweet (no more than 1/4 cup per bottle of wine). Some recipes do call for more sugar (up to about half a cup per bottle of wine), but many people find these highly sugared mulled wines sickly sweet, and adding too much sweetener overwhelms the other flavours in the mix.
Spices commonly used in mulled wine include anise, cloves, and cinnamon. Additional spices that are often added include nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and vanilla (in pod form). You don’t need to grind many of these spices – you can use whole cloves, anise stars, and cinnamon sticks. Typical ratios per single bottle of wine are:
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 anise stars
- 3-12 whole cloves
- half a nutmeg (grated) or up to a teaspoon of nutmeg
- a 1-inch piece of ginger (sliced) or up to a teaspoon of ginger
- half a vanilla pod
- 2-4 crushed cardamom pods
You don’t need to use all of these spices – just pick the ones you like best and experiment, or go with one of the recipes below if you’re not comfortable winging it. There are also premixed mulling spice blends available at many supermarkets.
To prepare the mulled wine, add all of your preferred ingredients to a saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium until it begins to steam, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes (cooking times vary widely from one recipe to the next, but in our experience, longer is better)..
To serve, you can strain the mulled wine or just ladle it out, leaving the spices in the pan. Additional fruit such as berries can be added during the last few minutes of cooking.
A Selection of Mulled Wine Recipes:
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