I had my first mulled wine hunter of the year yesterday.

“I know it’s a bit early for all that Christmassy stuff” he said, “But it just feels like a mulled wine kind of day”.

He wasn’t wrong!

So now that the thought has been put in my head, all I want is a mug of mulled wine! The German Christmas market isn’t quite open yet so I’ll just have to make my own. I also LOVE a mulled cider and have a couple of go-to bars that serve it during the winter months. Again, I think I’m probably a tiny bit quick off the mark so that’ll have to be a DIY job as well. If you fancy joining me you can find the recipes for both below.

Mulled Wine

With mulled drinks, the same rules apply as with cooking, always use a wine you would be happy to drink by the glass. I would recommend something full bodied and fruity such as our Les Oliviers Merlot Mourvedre. This recipe uses three bottles and is intended to cater for a crowd. You can easily divide down the quantities to make just a bottles’ worth for a cosy night in with a friend.

Ingredients:

  • 100mls good Brandy
  • 3 bottles of good quality fruity red wine
  • A thumb length piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 large oranges

Method:

1. Zest and juice the oranges.

2. Add the orange juice to a large saucepan with all other ingredients except the brandy.

3. Stir over a medium heat until hot but not boiling and the sugar and honey have dissolved.

4. Reduce to a very low heat, cover and allow to infuse for about 30 mins.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy.

6. Sieve into a large punch bowl (or transfer to a slow cooker set to low to keep warm) with slices of orange floated on top.

7. Use mugs or Irish coffee glasses to serve.

Mulled Cider

Again, this one is designed to provide for a crowd but you can adjust the amounts to suit if you’d prefer to make a smaller batch. You could also make this with a good quality cloudy apple juice in place of cider to make a child/designated driver friendly option, just remember to hold the rum!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 litres of good quality cider
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • zest of a large orange
  • zest of a large lemon
  • 100ml of spiced rum

Method:

1. place all ingredients except the rum into a large saucepan

2. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, do not allow the cider to boil.

3. Reduce to a very low heat, cover and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the spiced rum.

5. Sieve into a large jug (or slow cooker on low to keep warm) and add slices of apple to garnish.

6. Serve in mugs or Irish coffee glasses.

I find that a slow cooker is great for keeping these drinks warm without having to worry about abandoning the party to stand over a hob. You can safely leave the crockpot on low and guests can serve themselves over the course of the evening. Just be sure to check on it occasionally as they shouldn’t be left on while empty. Festive patterned mugs, teacups or mason jars with a cinnamon stick stirrer in each all look lovely and are a much safer option than traditional glassware which may not be able to cope with the heat from the drinks.

Cheers!