Homemade mulled wine has got to be one of my most drink favourite time at this time of the year. As it gets dark early outside weather is getting colder, therefore this drink just warms one up after being out in the cold. It is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. As mulled wine uses traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. There is really no point buying shop bought ones. As in contrast they don’t normally contain lots of spices of wine in them.
1 bottle of red wine
2 Bay leaf fresh or dried
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
! whole nutmeg
1 vanilla pod halved
Peel of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 lime
120 grms of granulated or castor sugar
50 mls brandy (optional)
Peel the lemon and lime skin with a vegetable knife (I find that it works best) into strips. It’s only the skin that is needed none of the flesh. Cut the clemetines into half and squeeze the juice out. Keep the squeezed clementine skins and flesh aside.
In a large sauce pan add the sugar, the pieces of lemon and lime peel. squeezed clementine juice and clementine skins. Just leave the seeds out if there is any. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and star anise. Finally add about 10 shavings of nutmeg on the grater. Do use nutmeg powder if makes life easier. Add the halved vanilla pod and stir in about 100- 150 mls of red wine and water (about 300 mls) to cover the sugar. The water will evaporate with the high heat.
Making sugar and spice syrup
Let all of these ingredients to simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Keep on boiling for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until you have got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason for doing this is to get the flavours of the sugar and spices infuse together with the red wine. It is important to do the syrup base first as it needs to be quite hot to get to a bit of syrupy consistency.
If you boil all of the red wine together with the high heat. As a result it will burn off the alcohol in the red wine. When the syrup is ready turn down the heat. It will have a lovely Christmas aroma as well. Add all of the red wine and the brandy if use. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes. Finally when the mulled wine is warm, ladle into glasses and serve.