My roommate makes mulled wine every year during the holidays. Last year during the ice-pocalypse (I live in Texas, we don’t really get snow), we enjoyed many helpings of it while sitting in front of a warm fire at home because all the businesses and campuses were closed because Texans cannot handle snow and/or ice.
However, it took some experimentation with multiple recipes. Because we like our mulled wine like we like our women: assertive and boozy. She ended up combining three recipes (1, 2, and 3) that highlighted the holiday flavors and didn’t cook down the booze.
Now you may be wondering what Red Sonja has to do with mulled wine, but like I said: assertive and boozy:
Plus, Red Sonja is going to need all the warmth she can get this winter. I don’t think that chain mail bikini provides much insulation. (Or maybe I just made this all up for convenience.)
A thing about mulled wine — it’s really about individual preferences. You may prefer something sweeter and less boozy. Just play around. But if you want something to warm your barbarian soul, I recommend following this recipe to the tee.
This makes…well, I’m not sure how many servings, because my roommate and I can throw it back.
- 1 bottle of red wine to your tastes and budget (if you are unsure of your red wines, a cabernet sauvignon is generally a good way to go)
- 1 large orange (you could also try clementines if available)
- ½ scant cup sugar (or keep the scant if you like things on the sweeter side)
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise (we got a little lighter on this because I am averse to strong licorice flavors)
- 6 allspice berries
- 6 whole peppercorns
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 juniper berries (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 jigger (a shot essentially) of cognac (or brandy) plus ¼ cup
- ¼ scant teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Candied ginger (optional)
1. Zest and juice the orange. Tip: If you don’t want to get carpel tunnel syndrome squeezing all the juice out of your citrus, use the heel of your palm to roll the orange for about half a minute.
2. Add sugar to large pot (not aluminum), then add zest and juice. Add cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, star anise, allspice berries, peppercorns, cardamom pods (you will want to bruise these beforehand to release the flavors — just use the flat side of a knife and press), juniper berries, and bay leaf. It will look something like this:
3. Add a jigger of brandy then pour in the red wine until it just covers the sugar.
4. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then stir in the vanilla, followed by the nutmeg.
By creating a syrup, you can cook the rest of the wine over a low heat and not cook out the alcohol. Very important if you want your mulled wine nice and boozy.
6. Once you have a syrup, pour in the rest of the bottle of wine.
7. Add the ¼ cup of cognac or brandy and the remaining cinnamon stick.
8. Let simmer for thirty minutes. (Note: It’s important to know exactly what simmering means, to quote the Wiki Gods: “To keep a pot simmering, one brings it to a boil and then reduces the heat to a point where the formation of bubbles has almost ceased, typically a water temperature of about 94 °C (200 °F).”
Optional: My roommate and I tried the first round, then we threw in some chopped candied ginger which was delish.