Enjoying a well-made mulled wine is one of the great joys of Christmas. Historically, mulled wine can be traced back to the warm spiced wines enjoyed in first century Rome, but it wasn’t until the 1300s that it gained its name from an Old English word meaning ‘muddled’. Later, Charles Dickens’ inclusion of mulled wine in A Christmas Carol, secured its place as a Christmas tradition.
A good rule of thumb when making mulled wine, is if you wouldn’t enjoy the wine without the mulling spices, don’t use it to make your mulled wine. Needless to say a fine vintage would be wasted but a decent red will make the world of difference to your finished drink.
Throughout The Merchant Hotel, we take pride in our ability to source the finest ingredients and we are constantly refining our techniques to ensure we get the very best from those ingredients. With this in mind, it is fitting that our team have dedicated themselves to perfecting a recipe for mulled wine which focusses specifically on the ingredients and cooking techniques. Take home a taste of The Merchant Hotel and recreate a recipe which is not only tried and tested, but has received wonderful feedback from our guests.
· 1 bottle red wine - preferably merlot
· 60g/2oz demerara sugar
· 1 cinnamon stick
· Pinch of grated nutmeg
· 1 orange halved
· 1 lemon halved
· 1 vanilla pod
· 60ml sloe or damson gin (optional)
· 60ml brandy or port (optional)
· 2 teabags
· 2 stars anise
· 1 dried chilli (optional)
· 5 cloves
1. Gently heat the saucepan. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, sliced vanilla pod, star anise, cloves and dried chillies. Stir for 2 minutes until the spices start to brown.
2. Add one cupful of your selected wine which will create a glaze. Continue to stir before adding the remaining wine and sugar.
3. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste the wine to check the sweetness, and add more sugar to taste if necessary.
4. Stir in the gin and brandy and add the tea bags.
5. Heat gently for a further 5-7 minutes whilst continually stirring.
6. Strain and serve.