Christmas mulled wine conjures up for me images of snowy scenes, a crackling fire, snow angels, and the smells of cinnamon and oranges.
It also brings back delicious memories of meeting our Welsh friends on a Sunday afternoon at our favorite local pub, being served big hot mugs of warm, spicy wine, and feeling all cozy and warm.
Mulled wine has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire in 20 AD. To make it, the Romans would put honey to boil in wine and then add spices (pepper, laurel, saffron) and dates. And, since Caerleon was a Roman fort and where our local and very favorite pub, The Bell Inn, is located, it’s perfect.
The popularity of Christmas mulled wine rose in the 1800s thanks to Charles Dickins’ A Christmas Carol. Victorian England viewed mulled wine as a sophisticated holiday-season drink. It was associated with good health, warmth, and happiness…all the things that remind us of Christmas.
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS:
This simple recipe evokes all the feelings Ralph and I had of those happy times in our local pub at Christmas.
Cosy Christmas Mulled Wine
- 1 750 ml dry red wine
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur
- 1 navel orange peeled, and cut into rounds
- A knob of ginger cut into matchsticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2-4 Tbsp. sugar, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or your favorite sweetener
- Put everything into a saucepan and bring right to a simmer on medium-high heat (you don’t want it to full-on boil because the alcohol will vaporize) and then reduce the heat to a soft simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes up to 3 hours on very low. Strain and serve with your favorite garnishes. Alternatively, you can cook it in a slow cooker on low.
What’s your favorite Christmas mulled wine recipe? Let us know via Facebook.