Mulled Wine. It’s the ultimate Christmas drink. It’s such a Christmas tradition, just like cards, trees and gift-giving. It’s warm, it’s cosy and flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, and orange it smells like Christmas Day.
A 750ml bottle of red wine -(virtually any red wine will do. Don’t waste money; you just need something that has fruit and alcohol)
2 unwaxed lemons
2 cinnamon sticks
75g caster sugar (to taste)
a splash of brandy (optional)
Carefully peel the zest very thinly from the lemons and one of the oranges using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze out the juice and reserve.
Stick the cloves into the other orange.
Pour the wine, a pint of cold water, and the citrus peel and juices into a large saucepan. Add the clove-studded orange and the cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover the pan with the lid, and continue to simmer for about an hour. Stir in the sugar gradually during cooking, until the mulled wine is sweetened to your liking (you may not need all of the sugar).
Strain the mulled wine and serve hot.
No Alcohol Version
For the non-drinkers, children and drivers, this is a great alternative to the boozy version:
750 ml Cranberry juice
250 ml Orange juice
1 large orange + the zest of another orange
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Star anise
5 pods Cardamom
In a large saucepan, boil the orange juice until it becomes syrupy.
Stick the cloves in to the orange and put it in the pan, along with the other mulling spices and the cranberry juice and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and let them rest for 2 hours for spices to infuse.
Strain the spice mix before serving and ladle them into the glasses.