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On the rare several days when Houston experiences winter, I jump at the opportunity to make mulled wine (hot spiced wine). It takes me back to fond memories of cool days touring the wineries in the Texas wine country, and that winter day in Piazza Navona. Mulled wine warms my body and soul.
Mulling spices can be purchased from numerous sources: from Amazon (Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Loose Mulling Spice, 16-Ounce Bag), your local grocery superbox, hill country wineries. A general rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons per 750ml bottle of wine. From there, you can adjust the taste as needed. In my home, sometimes I use red wine, sometimes white wine, and on occasion mead. And to be honest, more often than not I use a less than desirable varietal that was left at my house after a party or given to me as a white elephant gift. Simple kitchen items can be used to steep the mulling spices such as coffee filters tied shut with cooking twine and tea infusers. And depending on when the mulled wine is needed (hey, sometimes the need is dire!), heating can be stove top (fastest), in a coffee pot (meh), or a crock pot (slow). I prefer the crock pot method myself, because the aroma of mulled wine permeates the house for days.
Mulled wine has a rich history and variation around Europe, with no one “right” way to make it. This gives us artistic license regarding recipe. One could add sugar, brown sugar, brandy, rum, vodka, citrus, ginger, cardamom, anise, and the list goes on and on.
I recently set up a “mulled wine bar” for a group of guests in a three crock pot cooker. In one pot I steeped mulling spices with red wine, in another pot with white wine, and in the third mead. Beside the crock pots I set up a variety of additives and a simplified menu with suggestions on how to prepare mulled wine from around the world. This was a lovely set up and a crowd pleaser!
Make Your Own Mulled Wine from Around the World
Great Britain: Orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel, cloves, cardamom, ginger. Can add brandy.
Germany/Austria: Cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus, sugar, and vanilla pods optional. Can add rum or other liquor.
Nordic Glogg: Sugar, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves, bitter orange. Vodka, akvavit, or brandy optional.
Balkans: Nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, orange zest.
Bulgaria: Honey, peppercorn.
Chile: Orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar.
France: Honey, cinnamon, orange.
Portugal: Add Madiera or Port.
Do share how you enjoy your mulled wine. And cheers to you in the coming chilly months. Winter is coming…