Make Your Own: Mulled Wine & Cider

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Nothing says winter quite like mulled wine. Spiced up, honey and citrus-infused, it warms your cockles and your bones. Sip it from a mason jar in a hipster small bar or from a thermos on the sidelines at Sunday footy – this versatile beverage is verging on the medicinal. It’s a cure-all for heartache and head colds, Mondayitis* and the winter blues. And it’s a dessert in a beverage!

*Wine on a Monday??? Sometimes the world leaves you no option.

Stemless wine glasses or chic tumblers add sophistication to your citrus and spice-infused wines – so warming in the winter months. Krosno Vinoteca Stemless Red Wine Glass 540ml Set of 6, available online at Zanui. Image credit via luisafarelo.co.za

Made from red wine, mulled wine adores your heart and draws your good mood out of its winter hibernation. It makes the perfect companion for a weekend getaway. In the company of fine crystal and an open fire, it will charm the pants off you.

Making your own mulled wine is ridiculously easy. Whip up a vat of the stuff on the stove or in the oven with this recipe for traditional mulled wine, courtesy of 1920s’ domestic goddess Betty Crocker.

The infamous Betty Crocker says two bottles of wine are a must! Serve it up in a punch bowl bobbing with fruit, in tumblers, in old fashioneds or high balls for the die-hards. IVV Vizio Tumbler Set of 6, available online at Zanui. From left, image credit via uh.edu and via bbc.co.uk

What you need
2 bottles (750 ml each) dry red wine (and one for the chef)
½ cup brandy (plus a quick snifter to stave off the sniffles)
1 cup of (sweet, sweet) honey
2 oranges, thinly sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
½ tsp whole allspice

How to do it
In a French oven** or a 2.8litre saucepan, mix all ingredients except additional cinnamon sticks. Heat uncovered until it’s simmering over low heat. Simmer for one hour, being careful not to boil.

Pour mixture through strainer into heatproof pitcher or bowl. Serve warm. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks and orange slices, if desired.

Take it one step further and make mulled wine plum jellies -The Guardian shows you how (http://bit.ly/TqryPH) – a gorgeous gift or an effortless addition to your entertaining. Spiegelau Authentis Casual Burgundy Glass, 625ml (Set of 2), available online at Zanui. Image credit via theguardian.com.

Serve it up in a stylish decanter or carafe, making sure you chill the wine slightly first. Added bonus: the aromas of cloves and spices will scent your home…

** Be sure to use a stainless steel, ceramic or non-stick French oven/large saucepan as the acid in the wine can react with aluminium and cause a metallic taste.

Another reason the French oven is your must-have entertaining accessory… From left, image credit via batlowcider.com.au and askmissa.com

Mulled wine not your bag? How’s about a splash of mulled cider instead? The blokes at Batlow Cider have got you covered. (Yes! Now we’re talking…)

Batlow’s Brew is an impressive addition to your winter entertaining, destined to become a favourite with your friends. Piqued with brandy, pomegranate and fresh OJ, this recipe is simply delushious.

Rich and Sam Coombes from Batlow Cider prove that mulling is for more than wine lovers… From left: image credit via alpinecider.com and channel4.com

What you need

2L Batlow Premium Cider (this crisp gem is made from handpicked apples from Batlow NSW)
6 cloves
3 or 4 star anise
¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp grated nutmeg, 1 cinnamon stick or ground equivalent
1 vanilla pod, halved
Juice of 1 orange
6 cardamom pods
90ml pomegranate juice (any 100% fruit brand does the trick)
Sugar to taste (the boys at Batlow suggest 2 tablespoons of the brown stuff)
Extra brandy for extra warmth (if it’s in the recipe who are we to argue!)

Left: some sage advice and right: your sous-chef in the kitchen – Chasseur – the ultimate in enamelled cast iron cookware. From left image credit via keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk and chasseur.com.au

How to do it
Pour cider into a large pan and warm through on a low heat for a few minutes. Add spices and fruit juices and turn up the heat 😉 . When it reaches a boil, turn down and simmer for 5-8 minutes for delicious layers of flavour.

Add sugar to taste. You don’t want it to be sweet as such; you want the sugar to fuse the different spices into a delicate harmony. When you’re happy with the flavours, ladle the mulled cider into tumblers or mugs and serve warm. Leave the spices in the cider as garnish or strain it through a sieve for a clean finish.

Wine and dine, my friends! Wine and dine… Keep yourselves toasty in the chilly months!

 

Hero image source via storyofakitchen.com and tastygorgeous.com

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.