~ A time honored beverage and a warm, spicy pick-me-up for a cold winter night - mulled wine should be on your to-do list. ~
What does it mean? "Mulled" simply means "heated and spiced," so mulled wine is as simple as a simmering pot full of aromatic spices and your favorite bottle of red.
Origin? Mulled wine has been around for quite awhile, and was revered for its health benefits in ancient Egypt and later in Greece - Spicy Vines has the scoop on the complete history of spiced wine. Often referred to as "wassail," which has an interesting history itself, the two are actually different - mulled wine is simply wine heated with spices and occasionally brandy or Cognac, while wassail traditionally includes apples and eggs (a recipe for wassail can be found here.)
How do I make it? Simple! My version was based on this recipe, but its a very forgiving concoction if you want to get creative. You need a bottle (or two!) of red wine, whole spices (cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise, and any other winter spices you like), brown sugar or honey, and an orange. Feel free to toss in a few ounces of brandy, Cognac, whiskey or anything else you have on hand for a little extra kick. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes - the longer you simmer, the better the flavor infusion (and the better your house will smell). Mine cooked down quite a bit - simmering for 15 minutes and then letting it infuse off the heat is also a good option, and you can reheat to serve. Strain out the herbs and oranges (or just ladle out the wine) and serve in warmed mugs, preferably to the backdrop of a crackling fire and snowfall.
Thanks to Siciliana Winery, Old Town Spice Shop & Wilber's Fort Collins for making this deliciousness possible. Cheers! ~ Sadie
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