I'm a London-based freelancer who writes about costume design, performance art, pop culture deconstructions, literary evaluations, reviews and bucket lists on my blog Diary of a Self-Confessed Nerd
Published November 30th 2012
A beginners-safe recipe to great homemade mulled wine
Now that Christmas is finally and undeniably on the way (I've been trying to ignore the various adverts, music, and early decorations/shopper preparations up until December.) I decided to try something new and not only try mulled wine for the first time, but to actually make it as well.
After digging around online and through various cookbooks, I found a recipe which, after mentioning this to my grandmother, was promptly thrown out of the window and given her own recipe. Who knew that mulled wine had so many variations? I should have known there would be cardamom pods in there though - they seem to be her secret to most things.
I made some alterations to her original guide, instead making this a half hour job rather than a three hour stewing and brewing process to create a simple and quick recipe that makes a rich, warm Christmas blend that can be enjoyed with family and friends.
Homemade Mulled Wine, a quick look at the ingredients
2 bottles of Chianti, or another Italian red wine 250g caster sugar 2 clementines, peel and juice 1 lemon peel 1 lime peel 6 whole cloves 6 cardamom pods, split
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg
1 whole vanilla pod, halved
1 star anise
1. In preparation peel the two clementines, lemon and lime, though try to keep the pieces of peel as large as you can, this will help when straining later.
2. Squeeze the juice of the two clementines into a large saucepan (I recommend a large stew pot if you have one available due to boiling and possible red wine backlash.)
3. Next put the sugar in and stir together on a medium heat. Add the clementines, lemon and lime peel and stir until covered. Here you should also add the cloves, cinnamon stick, half a grated nutmeg and cardamom pods. With the cardamom pod be sure to apply a little pressure to their pods with the flat of a knife, splitting the skins enough that they remain intact but open to flavouring the wine.
4. Throw in the halved vanilla pod and add and stir in enough red wine to cover the sugar; don't worry too much about the peels and spices. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, now turn up the heat to a boil.
5. Boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until it is almost a weak syrup, think about the consistency of honey. This is because heat burns off alcohol (so you don't want to use all the wine), but also because it gives the spices time to heat and release their flavours.
6. Once you have a syrup turn down the heat and add the star anise and both bottles of wine. Now slowly heat the wine for about 5 minutes.
7. Now it is warm, you can put it into glasses and serve. Remember though, it can also be enjoyed cool so don't throw away the cork or the bottles as they can be used to store your mulled wine for another 3 days and enjoy it at room temperature or cold. Reheating is possible on the stoves but again; remember that it will burn off the alcohol.