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The Perfect Mulled Wine

A recipe to create a homemade mulled wine that will blow your mind

Written by . Published on December 23rd 2011.

The Perfect Mulled Wine

POST-HALLOWEEN, the countdown to Christmas really is inescapable. No sooner have all the supermarkets emptied of pumpkins, spooky sweets for trick or treaters and novelty eyeball fairy lights (honestly – Sainsburys sold these one year and they have been hanging around since, regardless of seasonal relevance), and the advent calendars come out. Followed swiftly by wrapping paper and cards and crackers. And drinks deals on bucks fizz and beer. And nuts that you have to physically crack open – an arduous task, but undeniably a vital Christmas component.

Despite most aspects of Christmas being vomit-worthy (elbowing insane Christmas shoppers out of the way on Oxford Street, train fares suddenly becoming astronomically expensive, arranging time off work to actually spend Christmas with family and not inside a shop), there are some definite positives. See: Starbucks red cups, Elf being on television, and of course, mulled wine.

Whether you’re wandering along Brick Lane on a Sunday afternoon in December, taking refuge from the cold in a pub or tucked away at home craving a winter warmer, mulled wine really is the perfect tipple to get even the meanest Scrooge feeling festive.

Making your own mulled wine is really simple and fairly inexpensive. The recipe we recommend requires quite a few different spices, but you can adjust to your taste. A good bottle of red is key and Chianti or Merlot work especially well.

To make the perfect mulled wine, you will need:

• 2 clementines

• peel of 1 lemon

• peel of 1 lime

• 250g caster sugar

• 6 whole cloves

• 1 cinnamon stick

• 3 fresh bay leaves

• 1 whole nutmeg

• 1 whole vanilla pod, halved

• 2 star anise

• 2 bottles of Chianti or other Italian red wine

Peel large strips from the clementines, lemon and lime; at this point owning a speed peeler is great, but unfortunately most kitchens kitchen are not equipped with such gadgetry so a sharp knife will do.

Once all citrus fruit has been peeled, pour the sugar into a large saucepan over a medium heat, adding the peel and squeezing in the clementine juice. Next, add your cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, roughly twelve gratings of nutmeg, the halved vanilla pod and then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.

Leave the pan simmering until the sugar has completely dissolved and then bring it to the boil for about five minutes; this part is especially important as you want to create a thick syrup-like liquid which forms the base for your mulled wine. It's really important to avoid pouring all the wine in at this stage as it needs to be extra hot and you don't want to risk burning off all the alcohol (disaster!).

Once you are happy with your syrup, pour in the rest of the red wine and add the star anise, before heating gently for five or so minutes. To serve, ladle or pour into a vessel of your choice (we use a mug with a reindeer on, extra festive points), et voilà, the perfect home-made mulled wine.

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