We may be on the back end of winter but in this fine country our winters can drag on well into September, and there is no better way to combat the winter blues with wine - red wine of course - and one of the best ways to improve your red is of course mulled wine. Ah yes, heartwarming, belly-warming, of course with all those wintery spices to just take your red to another level. But what is the best way to make mulled wine? What spices should you use? Which ones should you definitely not use? And which wine do you choose - light? heavy? oaky? tannic? It's all a bit of a mystery - let's resolve that. Here is your quintessential guide to making sure your mulled wine is at its maximum level - consider this your Rare Candy 😎
Which Red Wine Should I Use?
The only reason we're all here is we love wine. This should be a no brainer here but I'll say it anyway - don't mull white wine. It's a very silly idea, not many white wines are best enjoyed over the stove. You should probably drink some dry vermouth instead. But choosing your red with choosing your red, there are a few key tips.
Golden Rule: Keep it pretty full-bodied. Pinots and other lighter-bodied red wines are not your friends here - let them be all light and airy. We need something with a bit of gusto.
Now - Tannin. To be honest I like something pretty medium tannin, nothing too outrageous. Something like Nebbiolo doesn't sit right - think something a bit more opulent, like a Merlot, Syrah's good, a lot of Mataro. A GSM is honestly going to be a great bet here, and the best thing about them is that they are super value for money! Because you don't want to spend too much on your mulled wine, that's a bit too overindulgent. Here are a few of our favourite options!
Spice Up Your Life
Spice choices will the salt bae to your mulled wine. There are so many options and what you choose to add will be the signature and the mark left on your concoction - make sure to choose the ones you love the most more than anything else! Few tips:
Use sweeter citrus: lemon is good, orange is great, mandarins and clementines are even better.
Don't be afraid of a little kick: peppercorns, ginger and even chilli go really well in a mulled wine if you balance it right!
Honey over sugar: honey seems to integrate better into wine than plain ol' sugar - just use about half the amount of honey that you would with sugar!
Here are our favourites - but get creative!
Peppercorns (Pink or Black)
This is completely optional, but if you're keen, something that gives your favourite mulled wine a good nudge is a little spiritous lift! A dose of brandy or a dram of whisk(e)y or bourbon will just fill our the edges that your mulled wine needs to enter the stratosphere. The same rules apply as your wine - don't go overboard with your spirit, no need to get the best of the best that costs you an arm and a leg, a good splash of St. Agnes or Buffalo Trace will do the job just fine, or something of that ilk.
Alright - you've got the basics, you know how to flesh out your mulled wine, level it up, so your winter and every winter coming is the best it can be. But how do you pull it all together? Don't worry, we weren't going to write this whole thing on mulled wine without giving you guys a recipe for mulled wine. Well, at least the base of it so you can spice it up!
Per 1 Bottle of Wine Add:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar or 1/4 Cup Honey
The peel of 2 choice citrus
Example Spice Blend!
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon quill
1 vanilla pod
2 Star Anise
add sugar/honey to a saucepan and cover with red wine and simmer until combined. Add remaining red wine, then add citrus peel and spices and simmer for around 5 minutes. Serve when at a drinkable temperature - garnish with a slice of apple.