How To Make Mulled Wine and Other Christmas Drinks
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The temperatures have dropped, the days are getting shorter and the decorations have gone up. That can only mean one thing: it’s officially mulled wine season. It may be your favourite winter drink, but how much do you actually know about it? We’ve put together everything you need to know about one of the cosiest drinks in the world, how to make mulled wine plus a few recipes for other festive alcoholic drinks to enjoy all season long.
Mulled wine has a long history, one that dates back to the 2nd century. The Romans were the first to come up with the idea of heating up their wine to protect themselves against the cold. As the Romans conquered much of Europe, their habit of drinking hot wine spread across the empire and the regions they traded with.
As the popularity of hot wine grew, Europeans started to add spices to the mix as they believed these would promote health and stave off illnesses. Herbs and flowers were also used as natural sweeteners.
Over time, its popularity dwindled except for in Sweden which came up with two popular variations made famous by the Swedish monarchy.One of them was Claret (wine, sugar, honey and spices) and the other was Lutendrank (spices, wine and milk). Other variations started to crop up, and recipe books started to use the term ‘glögg’ which was coined in 1609 and is of Scandinavian origin.
By the 1890s, glögg was associated with Christmas and wine merchants up and down Sweden had their own unique recipe. Most of the wine bottled depicted Santa Claus and were exported around Europe, putting mulled wine firmly back in the limelight. Over time, more variations cropped up around Europe, including German Glühwein which can include star anise, Spanish Vino Caliente with fresh oranges, Danish Gløggas with additional rum or schnapps (for those who like it strong), as well as white wines, vermouth and port—each country has their own special blend. You can even use mulled wine in Christmas desserts, such as our recipe for poached pears.
Even if you’re not the hugest wine fan, there are plenty of other popular alcoholic Christmas drinks out there and you can get as creative as you like. For more inspiration, take a look at our top 10 spiced Christmas cocktails and recipes. If you know someone who likes a festive tipple, our Mulling Drinks Gift Selection makes the perfect Christmas present. You’ll find all the essential festive drinks in here, complete with a nice package and easy to follow recipes on the back.
Keen on making your own mulled wine? It’s easier than you think. Below you’ll find our foolproof recipes for classic mulled wine, as well as mulled cider, Caribbean sorrel rum punch, hot toddy and café brulot.
(For a non-alcoholic version, replace the water with tea, and the wine with red grape juice).
Top tip: serve your mulled wine from a clean coffee cafetiere! This filters the spices and is designed to keep hot drinks hot.
Alternatively, you can make a mulled white wine instead. Simply switch the red wine for two bottles of white wine, and use our Mulled White Wine Spice Mix.
Our mulled wine spices are also available in a drawstring bag! Containing 4 spice balls, this is a great alternative to loose spices (also makes for a lovely Christmas stocking filler).
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