Do you have those fond memories that represent a first experience? The ones where the recollection is so vivid, it is as if you can feel it? I remember the first time I was introduced to mulled wine. When the steaming cup was presented to me by my dear friend Marla, I wondered how it was possible that I had not tried this warm sipping drink complete with subtle hints of cinnamon and spice until that moment. Perhaps it was the company, or the ambience of the evening, but I left there eager to recreate the experience and contemplating whether this delightful drink would replace mimosas at Sunday brunch for the rest of this long winter season. It is so simple it is almost criminal and can be described as the winter version of the beloved sangria.
- bottle of red wine (I chose a carmenere)
- 1 orange, sliced + zest
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 cinnamon sticks, whole
- 10 allspice berries, whole
- 5 star anise
- 4 Tbsp honey
- nutmeg, vanilla bean, cloves - Optional
- Add ingredients and 1 cup of the red wine to a pot. Reserve the rest of the red wine to add afterwards. Adding it immediately will burn off the alcohol.
- Bring the mixture to a low boil for a few minutes (3 minutes)
- reduce heat, remove orange slices, squeezing the excess juice prior to removing
- Add the remaining wine and slowly simmer at a low heat until it is ready to serve.
- Using a ladle, scoop the liquid into cuts, add the cranberries and enjoy.
Simple Gift Idea
Mulling spice and a bottle of wine make for a wonderful and easy holiday gift. Print or handwrite the recipe on a card. Combine the star anise, allspice berries, and cinnamon sticks (broken into pieces), and cloves (optional) into an empty spice jar, small box or bag and fasten with a bow. Pair it with your favourite red wine and share this simple gift with a friend.