Mulled wine, red wine simmered in spices and served warm or hot, is all but synonymous with the holidays. “Mulled wine is a holiday tradition across the world,” explains Michelle Foletta, assistant winemaker at City Winery Nashville. Plus, “in my opinion, mulled wine captures the taste of winter and provides a delicious means by which you can keep warm.”
It’s exciting to drink, too, Foletta says, because “[most] wine is rarely served warm, and mulling it allows even the most frugal of wines to be able to shine during the holidays.”
And now that you are craving mulled wine, we have even more good news about this spicy beverage: it’s one of the easiest homemade wines to make. In fact, Foletta says, any home cook can make delicious mulled wine in as few as three simple steps. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Heat wine and add spices
Grab a bottle of red wine—we recommend Pinot Noir—and add half the bottle to a pot over low heat, instructs Oscar Carbezas, executive chef at Telefèric Barcelona in Walnut Creek, California. As the wine begins to heat, “add one or two cloves, a cinnamon stick, a star anise, a piece of orange skin, and two tablespoons of sugar or honey,” depending on taste, he says.
Step 2: Allow the mixture to simmer
Foletta recommends leaving the wine mixture to gently simmer on low heat for at least an hour, “to really let the spices absorb,” she says. As you allow the wine to simmer, “always stir it to avoid caramelizing the sugar,” Carbezas says, adding that as you cook it, you can “notice how the aroma of the drink increases,” and use that scent to gauge when it is done.
Step 3: Drain the drink
Before you serve this beverage, you should strain it of the spices, Carbezas says. Once it is strained, you can pour mulled wine into tea cups or insulated mugs to serve hot or warm.
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