Making Mulled Wine From Scratch

Kindi Lantz December 19, 2019

Mulled Wine with Bourbon or Brandy

The first time I was presented with the idea of drinking hot red wine, I was appalled. Am I alone in that sentiment? I have a rule, though—if I have the opportunity to try a new culinary delight or libation, I have to seize that opportunity. So when my sister returned from a trip to Germany many years ago and made her new favorite beverage for us, of course, I tried it—and loved it!

As it turns out, red wine simmered in beautifully fragrant mulling spices is a spectacular winter beverage. It’s no wonder why it is an incredibly popular drink throughout Europe!

That first mulled wine I tried was made with merlot, which lends a delicate, sweet, and berry-eske flavor to the drink. Because I am adding apples and oranges to my mulled wine and didn’t want to go overboard with the fruitiness, I opted for a cabernet sauvignon, which is much more robust, with a deeper, less-sweet flavor. It works incredibly well with the mulling spices. 

Note: on occasion, I will add a few vanilla beans (split to release seeds) to this drink and when I do, I always use a merlot. 

How to make mulled wine

Ingredients

  • 1 750 ml bottle of cabernet sauvignon
  • fresh-squeezed juice of 3 clementines, about ½ cup (reserve spent fruit)
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Ceylon cinnamon quills, broken into pieces
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cardamom pods, smashed
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • Bourbon or brandy
  • Orange twist and cinnamon quills for serving

Procedure

  1. Pour the wine into a mid-sized saucepan and add in the orange juice and bodies of the spent fruit, apple, cider vinegar, cinnamon quills, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and cardamom pods.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes. 
  3. In the final few minutes, stir in the maple syrup. 
  4. Pull from the burner and strain through a fine sieve to remove bits and pieces of spices or leave them in there and try to avoid them when pouring into a cup. Alternatively, you can keep the ingredients in a sachet made of cheesecloth and leave in for further infusion.
  5. Add about 2 ounces of brandy or bourbon to your cup, if desired. 
  6. Garnish with cinnamon quills and a citrus twist. 

Serving Suggestion

Serve warm. For large parties, you can keep it warm in a crockpot with a ladle for self-serving, leaving the bourbon and brandy on the side for the guests to add themselves. 


Several of the spices used for this mulled wine recipe were found here!

Want to take your mulled wine to a new level? Throw in a bit of mace blade.





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