Leaves are falling, days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder. Halloween must be right around the corner! And with Halloween comes the Halloween Party - adult-style. I love to serve something a little different at this time of year - something that will warm you up and may even pair better with all that candy than plain old wine - mulled wine.
I love serving mulled wine. It is the perfect drink on a cold night. Not only is it delicious, it also makes the whole house smell edible! But what exactly is it? It's a beverage whose origins date back to Mesopotamia, around 5000 BC. Think wine that's infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove, with a hint of orange or lemon – and wine. Served warm. Mmmmmm mmm!
But what wine to use? My preference is for something that doesn’t have a lot of tannin – the drying feeling you get with some red wine. I like to call it a “quaffing wine” – delicious and easy to drink. We don’t need any First Growth Bordeaux here!
So what are our options? There are plenty – from California Merlot to Australian Shiraz to Argentine Malbec. You don’t have to spend a lot either since you will be flavouring the wine with tons of things. Keep it cheap and cheerful.
Now let's make it! Here is a great recipe but really, there is no recipe – you can add whatever you want!
1 bottle of dry red wine
¼ cup sugar
Peel of an orange and a lemon
One cinnamon stick
5-8 grates of nutmeg
4-5 cardamom pods, slightly smashed
A few slices of ginger
Put the sugar, all the fruit peels and spices and a squeeze of the lemon and orange in a pot and let the sugar melt. Add enough wine to cover the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is melted and a syrup is formed. (HINT – you don’t want to add all the wine at this point or you will boil off all the alcohol!).
Once you have your syrup, turn down the heat, add the rest of your wine and heat gently. Strain and serve with orange slices or peel.
If you wanted to step it up another notch, you could add ¼ cup of brandy to the wine as you are heating things up!
This recipe is not set in stone. How about including some rosemary, bay leaves, star anise or black pepper corns. Let your imagination be your guide!
I hope you enjoy this delicious and warming drink!