Nothing shouts Christmas as much as a glass of steaming mulled wine. The perfect drink when the carol singers come calling and the mince pies are in the oven! Making mulled wine is easy – gently heat a bottle of red wine with spices (see below) and a sweetener (usually sugar to taste) and leave over low heat till ready to serve. That’s the basic mix. Of course you can customize your mulled wine by following our tips.
· Always use a wine you would drink as it comes – poor quality red wine doesn’t taste any better when it’s been mulled.
· Spices for mulling should include a couple of cinnamon sticks and some whole cloves. You can also use whole allspice and star anise.
· Reds made from Merlot are soft and gentle. New World Shiraz wines have bold spicy taste. Both of these make good mulled wine. It really depends on how much poke you want – but be guided by your usual choice of red wine and you won’t go far wrong.
· For extra oomph, add a good dash of port into the mix
· Use honey as a natural sweetner rather than sugar.
· Adding orange or apple juice will make the wine go further, lighten the taste and add a touch of fruity sweetness. As a rough guideline, use a litre of juice for two bottles of wine.
· Dry white wine and cider are also good for mulling.
· Add a decent slug of brandy to white mulled wine or mulled cider, for a punchy wintry flavour
· Red and white mulled wine work well with orange wedges studded with cloves floating in the mix.
· Frozen summer berries like blackcurrants and redcurrants can be added to red mulled wine just before serving, so they defrost in the heat but stay whole to float in the glasses.
· Fresh ginger grated into white wine or mulled cider adds a touch of gentle spicy heat
· For non drinkers and drivers, mulled apple juice is delicious. Make sure to use an Irish natural pressed apple juice which is full of the flavour of fresh orchard fruit. Check our online shop for Irish apple juices made on the farm.