Get the low down on mulled wine | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Get the low down on mulled wine

Nothing conjures up images of winter nights in front of a roaring fireplace, preferably at a ski lodge in the Alps, than mulled wine. Mulled wine has a long tradition in Europe going all the way back to the Romans, and by the middle ages was a traditional drink associated with Halloween and Christmas. Although recipes change slightly between countries the process stays the same, a cheaper red wine is used as the base, spices are added, and it’s warmed. In some countries a shot of liquor is also involved, again this tends to depend on which country you’re in. In Australia we don’t really have a strong mulled wine tradition due to our climate, but it has always been a favourite on the ski fields of the southern states, and makes a regular appearance during Melbourne’s winter months. My favourite recipe is one my parents picked up in France in the 70s, the base wine is Beaujolais due to its primary fruit characters and sweet floral notes, you could also use a Merlot if you want a bit more body. Pour a bottle of wine into a saucepan and add a fist full of star anise, cinnamon and cloves along with the peel of an orange and a lemon, warm the mixture on a low heat, you don’t want it getting too hot or you’ll start to burn off the alcohol. When the wine becomes just too hot to stick your finger in remove it from the heat, pour a measure of brandy or rum into a mug, add the mulled wine and serve by the fireplace wearing your thickest, woolliest, rollneck sweater. Words by James Cooper