Mulled wine, glÃ¶gg, wassail, glÃ¼hwein, vin chaud, kuhano vino – all variations on essentially one ubiquitous winter beverage: a pleasantly warm, deliciously spiced, alcoholic punch. While one mulled recipe inevitable varies from another, all share one powerful commonality: warmth, a heady aroma and a robust flavor.
A mulled wine recipe may seem an unlikely post for the middle of September when most folks are still sipping icy lemonades to escape 90 ° F heat, it’s fitting nonetheless. You see, yesterday in the high country we celebrated the last official day of summer with what is the first snowstorm of the upcoming ski season. Warm and pleasantly spicy mulled wine was definitely in order.
A Winter Dessert Party
Cooks vary in their approach to mulled wine, and mulled wine recipes vary from culture to culture. The Swedes combine white and red wines with spices, almonds and raisins. The Germans use unusual varieties of fruit wine in combination with cinnamon and other spices. The early Americans often combined wine with eggs, sugar and spice. While wassail didn’t make use of wine at all and, instead, used beer or mead.
Mulled wine has added benefits. Not only is it warming both due to its temperature and also its aromatic combination of spices, but it is also nourishing. Red wine is rich in reservatrol and other antioxidants while the spices themselves considerable flavor to the beverage and, remember: where there’s robust and complex flavor there’s flavonoids – those wonderful food compounds that may play a role in the protection against cancer.
In my mulled wine recipe, I forgo the sugar and water combination found in many recipes and substitute apple cider while adding licorice root, cinnamon, vanilla and other aromatic spices. Mulled wine, like most recipes, should speak to the personality of the cook. Develop your own combination of flavors – star anise is a nice inclusion. I enjoy serving this at Thanksgiving, Christmas and throughout the winter.
- 8 cardamom pods
- 8 black peppercorns
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 small nutmeg pod
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 bottle red wine, such as Robert Mondavi Premium Select Pinot Noir
- 6 cups sweet apple cider
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 cup whole, unrefined cane sugar
- 1 orange, sliced in rounds
- Cut a square of cheesecloth about 12 inches square. Arrange the spices in the center of the of the square, and tie it into a bundle with 100% cotton cooking twine. Place it in a nonreactive stock pot. Pour the wine, cider and brandy into the pot, and stir in the sugar. Drop in the orange and bay leaves.
- Warm over low heat at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together, taking care not to allow the wine to boil lest you cook out the alcohol. Ladle into mugs, and serve warm.