Wintry Mulled Wine

by feastonthecheap on November 21, 2010

Mary Anne here. ‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry, so we thought it fitting to raise a special Sunday glass of mulled wine in honor of the week ahead.

Mulled wine is a traditional Christmas libation dating back to Medieval times, but these days, there is no shortage of interpretations. Whether you choose to spike it with brandy or cognac, whether you opt for a deep dry cab or a crisp merlot, there are a few things I think we can all agree on: it’s best served warm, spiced to the hilt and enjoyed while tucked into a good movie or an animated conversation with close friends. Cheers to the holiday season!

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Wintry Mulled Wine
Serves 4

Note: Do not cook the wine in an aluminum pot since the alcohol can react with the aluminum, causing a metallic taste. Use a stainless steel or ceramic glazed pot – even Teflon will do.

For a large gathering, triple or quadruple this recipe and serve, re-warmed from a punch bowl.

4 cups Merlot or other dry red wine – $9.00
5 Tablespoons honey – stock
1 large orange – $0.75
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half – stock
½ Tablespoon pickling spice (this is a prepackaged blend of spices including allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds and peppercorns), you can individually adjust according to your preferences. Alternatively, simply use 6 whole cloves if that’s what’s in your spice rack – stock
¼ to ½ cup port, brandy, or cognac – optional
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $9.75
Total Per Serving:$2.43

1. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove the peel (in strips/pieces) from the orange. Try to only get peel and avoid the thick-white, bitter pith. If there is any  pith clinging to the peel, simply scrape it off.

2. Cut the same orange in half and squeeze out all of its juice. Set aside.

3. Using a heavy sauce pot (not aluminum), combine the wine, orange peel and orange juice, honey, cinnamon, and pickling spices. Add the port, brandy, or cognac if using.

4. Over medium flame, bring the brew to ALMOST – but not quite – a simmer. There will be curls of wispy steam emanating from the surface.

5. Reduce the flame to low and continue cooking the wine for about 10 minutes, but again, do not bring it to a simmer – it should continue to emit those curls of steam. This allows the flavors to blend.

6. Strain the Mulled Wine into 8 ounce mugs and serve warm.