December 19, 2011 by bethanjthomas
Mulled wine sometimes angers me. If it’s done well it is sublime, but more often that not it is a weak, slightly smelly but tannic after the first sip. It’s the biggest Christmas let down but the second the temperature drops under 10 degrees, I get the urge to down gallon loads of the stuff.
But then last night, I had a bit of a mulled wine awakening. We made the most delicious mulled wine and I realised that all it takes is some pain staking effort.
People don’t put love into mulled wine the way that they do with mince pies, turkeys or Christmas puddings. The standard move it to boil pre-packaged muslin bags of spice in the cheapest wine available. But you’ve got to put blood, sweat and tears into a good Christmas-y wine.
According to 10 reliable recipes, the key is to make a good syrup. Painstakingly juice some clementines, add the rind of a freshly peeled lemon, 5 cloves, 3 bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, 1/3 of a vanilla pod (expensively fresh if possible), 5 star anise, a sprinkling of ginger, a generous dollop of nutmeg and 150g of sugar. The pour on enough wine to simply cover the sugar and heat, without boiling, to make a syrup. Only at this point should you fill up with more sine to dilute the concentrate down.
And it doesn’t end at this point . Do not let the wine boil, just get it simmering for 10/15 min or so. Et voila.
Not exactly a piece of cake, but definitely the least disappointing mulled wine that I’ve ever had. It’s definitely Christmas time…