Each year, when we put the Christmas tree up, Mark and I always have mulled wine – it’s part of our Christmas tradition. I’ve tried several different recipes over the years, but this one is my personal favourite.
My recipe is based upon one which was in a Christmas magazine so many years ago that I can’t remember the original source. It’s important to choose the right wine as the base of your mulled wine. You don’t want one which is so harsh that you wouldn’t drink it normally, but likewise it’s not worth splashing out on a seriously high end bottle when you are going to add so many different flavours to it.
I don’t like very heavy reds but I usually go for something with a bit of body, like a Merlot or a Shiraz Cabernet, rather than a lighter red like a Grenache. This Christmas I decided to use a Tarrango from Brown Brothers. In the summer months, I normally drink Tarrango lightly chilled, but it’s also very good warm and spiced.
75cl red wine
100ml weak Earl Grey tea
4tbsp golden caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
3 tbsp brandy (or to taste!)
Wash the oranges in warm water, scrubbing them to remove any wax coating. Cut the fruit in half and then slice thinly into half-moons.
Pour the wine into a large saucepan, stir in the tea, sugar, spices and fruit and heat over a low heat til the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat slightly and simmer gently for 15 minutes. The wine should never boil or the alcohol will evaporate, you want the surface of the wine to just gently shiver
Stir in the brandy and taste, adding more sugar (or brandy!) if required.
If you’re not serving the wine soon after making, strain it to prevent the flavour of the fruit and spices becoming overpowering. Reheat gently when you are ready to serve – remember, you don’t want to evaporate off the alcohol.