There is nothing better in the fall and winter than the aromas of warm baking spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg filling the air. Mulled, or spiced, wine is a delightful warm beverage perfect for those cold winter afternoons or nights in front of a fire, curled up with a warm blanket and a book, or sitting around enjoying the company of good friends.
Mulled wine provides warmth not only based on its serving temperature, but also for its alcoholic content from its main ingredient, which is red wine, along with spices that evoke warmth and comfort, and fruit such as raisins, apples, or orange rind.
In Homer’s Odyssey there are references to Circe, a lascivious goddess, who drugs Odysseus’ crew with a blend of spices and wine. Mulled wine also is referenced to Rome, in the second century. As the Romans traveled through Europe, they brought wines and vines with them, including recipes for making spiced warm wines.
Mulled wine also appears in an English cookbook called “The Forme of Cury,” from 1390, which speaks of grinding together cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom, and grains of paradise (from the ginger family). In the Victorian age, adding spices to wine was a way of improving a wine’s flavor if wine shipped between countries hadn’t been stored quite properly.
Glühwein, “glowing wine,” is popular in many of the German-speaking regions, as well as in the Alsace in France. It is traditionally served at Christmas and quite readily available to enjoy while you stroll and shop at Christmas markets. In the Nordic countries, gløgg is served. Warmed mulled wine is also no stranger to European countries, South American countries, and of course, the United States.
Recipes for mulled wine vary. Often the spices and dried fruits are wrapped in cheesecloth, or in something like a tea bag, then put in the wine to steep. A tea ball will work well, too. Traditionally, red wine is used, but white wine or hard cider works well too, depending on your personal preference. The longer the spices and fruit stay in the warming wine the deeper the flavors will become.
If the thoughts of deciding what spices or fruits to blend to make a mulled wine for your holiday or winter enjoyment are too much, City Vino can help. We have Lt. Blender's Mulled Wine packets in stock. Simply open the bag and pour in a bottle of basic red wine, a bit of water and shake. Then pour it into your crock-pot on warm or into a pot and warm it up on your stove. The beautiful aromas of the cinnamon, clove, and allspice warming up will fill your home.