Wondering if anyone here has some tried and true mulled wine type recipe they could recommend?
Bishop’s very nice, but totally unsuitable for the weather. It’s a two-step mulled port and this is my bastardized and adapted version.
Make your spiced syrup first.
Chuck into a saucepan the juice of an orange, half a cup of white sugar, half-a-dozen cloves, 3 cardamon pods (or 1/2 teaspon of allspice if preferred), an inch of Cinnamon stick, a little grated nutmeg and the peel of a lemon (pith removed). Add some port (enough to cover the sugar ) and slowly heat until the syrup is dissolved. Gently simmer for 10 minutes, then either use immediately or pour into a clean bottle or jar, removing chunky bits.
To this syrup, add a couple bottles of port, a goodly glass of ginger wine, a shot or two of brandy and some sliced orange. Stir and heat until it’s hot enough to serve. You can do the roast clove-studded orange thing too, if that’s your thing.
I like it, but taste is weird, so use your own tastebuds to check. The key is balancing the citrus and sweetness without getting overwhelmed by spices.
I’ve also got a recipe from Apicius knocking around somewhere for a spiced chilled white wine which makes a very acceptable warm-weather substitute.
/doesn’t really do the Xmas thing but any excuse for a booze-up.
Never really liked mulled wine. But I’ve been served it a lot, and work as a bartender where its something of a topic of conversation. When I do do mulled wine I like to avoid sweetening it at all (it can get syrupy right quick) and stick to lighter fruitier reds. Low tannins. Montepulciano, Valpolicella (not Amarone della Valpolicella which is more expensive and more intense) both work well. Beaujolais too. Its kind of counter to what you might hear otherwise. But the brighter/lighter flavors of dry, fruity, low tannin red tend to balance things a little better in my opinion. In my experience you want to be very careful with cinnamon. It can really easily take over anything you’re making; whether its an infusion, hot toddy, or mulled wine. Otherwise I’d say to focus on citrus, and less common spices. Coriander seed goes well with citrus. Nutmeg works well. As Smasmartian mentions Cardamom is a great idea. Black cardamom especially. Juniper can be nice if you like gin/pine trees but it, like cinnamon, can take over. Herbs can work well, anything on the grassy or citrusy end. Parsley or thyme. Something like rosemary can work if you want to be more aggressive. But I wouldn’t take that too far, or use more than one herb. If you do want to add sugar stick to something with a decided flavor to it, like maple syrup or brown sugar, and try to match the flavor to something in the wine. Varietal honeys have a wide range of flavors, and often distinct bitterness to them. I like buckwheat honey as a substitution for maple, but there are all sorts of lighter/brighter/floral honeys that are less likely take over the flavor here.
Otherwise try not to boil it. You want to heat enough to extract flavor from the spices, but you don’t want to cook anything off, or reduce and concentrate the wine, or remove the alcohol. Last time I did it we used a crock pot set on high while making it and low/warm to serve. Like a heated punch bowl. It might be worth while to contain the spices/flavorings to a mesh bag or cheese cloth. And remove it when it hits the flavor you like. That way you can make it ahead, and the last few cups don’t taste like mouthwash.
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