As this wet and rainy winter drags on, sometimes it feels like curling up next to the fireplace with a cozy blanket, a comforting book and a hot beverage is the only way to cope. If hot cocoa and tea are a little tired, try brewing up a mug of mulled wine that will warm you up both inside and out.
Descended from the German glühwein and dating as far back as the Middle Ages, mulled wine is an alcoholic spiced wine cocktail made with red wine and various mulling spices.
The modern version we often sip today, however, is sweeter than the historic version and uses products grown from ingredients found here in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Mulled wine specifically calls for red wine, so be sure to avoid whites and rosés. Because it will be diluted to such an extent with other ingredients, the vintage is not particularly important. So, there’s no need to pay for anything extravagant.
This chambourcin from Penns Woods Winery makes for a perfect base to this cocktail. With fruity notes of cherry, cranberry, ripe raspberry and sweet strawberry, it blends perfectly with its constituent flavors. A balanced Gracie Red from Grace Winery or Red Standard from Chaddsford Winery also make for good choices.
Mulled wine requires a generous helping of sweet honey, and buying raw from local apiaries is not only great for supporting farmers, but also for building your immune system to regional pollens. Try Montgomery County’s own Heirloom Acre Honey to shop small for this recipe.
Apple cider is another central component of mulled wine that can be found in Philadelphia. Back in the fall, we covered just where to find the tastiest fresh-made ciders from the Delaware Valley. Be sure to buy non-alcoholic to make sure the flavors meld perfectly.
Finally, let’s look at the mulling spices we’ll be using: cinnamon sticks, cloves and anise. While none of these are grown in our local climate, high-quality whole spices (none of that ground stuff) from your local market add depth of flavor.
Likewise, oranges aren’t grown around the Northeast, and we’ll want to look to the best fruits for juicing and zest. Valencia and navel typically contain the most juice, though Valencias are sweeter and last longer when stored. Aim to buy organic, too, as we’ll need the peels for zest, and organic skins won’t be sprayed with chemicals.
With all of the ingredients out of the way, it’s time to get into the recipe.
Hot Mulled WineCourse: DrinksCuisine: German, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This hot mulled wine recipe will warm the soul.
750ml bottle of red wine
1⁄3 cup of honey
4 cups apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
3 star anise cloves
2 Valencia or navel oranges
- Zest one orange completely with a fine grater. Make sure as much of the outside of the orange is an orange-white color.
- Pour the full bottle of wine, apple cider and honey into a large pot. Add all the orange zest on top.
- Juice one orange. Add juice to the pot.
- Add cloves, anise and cinnamon sticks.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- While the mixture is simmering, cut the second orange into slices.
- Once simmering is finished, strain the mixture over mugs, then squeeze one orange slice over each individual mug and place orange slice into the drink for garnish.
- This is recipe is adapted from the Food Network.
- Add an optional cinnamon stick for garnish.