*By: Christi Shingara*
During my days as a NYC bartender mulled wine was always on the menu around the holidays. It is fairly easy to make and equally easy to drink. It is probably one of my favorite seasonal drinks other than the traditional eggnog.
I first learned about mulled wine through my European friends, which is where it originated. It goes as far back as the Romans during the 2nd century. It is usually made with red wine and spices and served hot. Variations can also include brandy or ginger wine. You can make it ahead of time and then put it in the refrigerator and re-heat it, but I prefer it the first time around. Moreover, the intoxicating aroma it emits into the air will leave your house smelling amazing and exactly like the holidays!
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine – I like to use Malbec
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2–4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup taste – This depends on how sweet you want the drink to be. If you pick a sweeter wine then use less sweetener.
- optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise
- Combine ingredients. Add wine, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, 2 tablespoons sweetener. Stir to combine.
- Simmer. Cook the mulled wine on medium-high heat until it just barely reaches a simmer. (Avoid letting it bubble — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. The longer the simmer the more the spices will becomes infused with the wine.
- Strain. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove and discard the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Give the mulled wine a taste, and stir in extra sweetener if needed.
- Serve. Serve warm in heatproof mugs, topped with your favorite garnishes.
Do you like mulled wine? Let us know in the comments below!