Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays: Mulled Wine Edition

Some people ruminate, others procrastinate; me? I like to mull. And by mull, of course, I mean wine.

Called Gluhwein in Germany, or Glogg in Norway, the tradition of adding spices, and often honey, to wine dates back for centuries. In those days, mulling was used as a way to pass off some less-than-fresh vino, using the spices to cover up the taste - today we mull for the fun of it. Or, at least we do Chez Diva.

Recently, I've been using the Mulling Spice blend from Williams-Sonoma - a wonderful blend of cinnamon chips, dried orange peel, whole allspice, whole cloves, cinnamon oil and orange oil. While you could certainly make your own mix from dried spices and such, I rather like the portability of the Williams-Sonoma tin ... as we like to take our mulling show on the road! We usually mull something at my father in law's house on Christmas Eve and then again at my parents' on Christmas Day. This year was no exception.

Mulled Wine:
  • 1 bottle (1 liter) of good quality red wine*
  • 2 tablespoons mulling spices
  • 1 small orange, quartered (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons agave nectar, or to taste
Pour all of the ingredients into a non-reactive sauce pan and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and fragrant. Do not boil, just simmer. Ladle the mulled wine through a fine mesh strainer into mugs, garnish with a slice of orange or cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!

*Almost any kind of wine will do, so long as its something you would ordinarily drink. Lately, we've been using Sant'Angelo Negroamaro, which I really enjoy.

Not a fan of wine? No problem, you can mull cider as well. Follow directions above, but omit the agave nectar. If you'd like to spike your cider - and, certainly, I hope you do! - feel free to use some dark rum, spiced rum, applejack brandy, Calvados, or even some vanilla vodka. Its all good and all delicious.

Hell, we've even mulled plain water in a pinch - I kid you not - and spiked the hot spiced water with brandy. Call it a toddy and no one will be the wiser. Its delicious!

A quick word about the agave nectar - I've used it place of the 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar that the Williams-Sonoma recipe indicates. Feel free to substitute some sugar for the agave, if that's your preference, but I would go easy - 1/2 cup sound like way too much to me. Your mileage may vary, of course. You could also choose to use some honey.

Mulled wine may be a Christmas tradition, Chez Diva, but the mulling need not end at Epiphany. In fact, I'll be mulling tonight ... a little incentive to help ease the taking down of the tree.

This is a fun and festive cold weather treat that should be enjoyed all winter long. I hope you'll try it!

Cheers!

22 comments:

Maven said...

I just love mulled wine when we go camping. There's nothing like sitting in front of a roaring fire in the cool night air with a nice warm mug.

I'm thinking it might also be a nice drink for Valentines day this year...

Heavenly Housewife said...

Perfect drink for this kind of weather. Right now in my neck of the woods we are having severe weather warnings. This is the perfect winter warmer.

prettygreengirl said...

Yum! I can just smell it now!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I've never tried mulled wines, but I certainly have many bottles around the house to experiment!

Astra Libris said...

Happy New Year, Diva! :-) I'm so excited about this recipe - I love mulled wine, and I've never fixed it with agave nectar! Brilliant! As we're having a bit of snow, I'm now very excited about fixing this recipe the weekend... :-) Thank you!!

Dianne1216 said...

Wow, that's so funny. I love the WS Mulling Spices as well. Was going to make some with apple cider tonight...with a large splash of brandy!!! ;) It's gonna be sweet dreams tonight.

The Duo Dishes said...

It probably is much easier to just buy the spices already packaged. It can be expensive buying each one on its own. Oh, and the agave is perfect! Gotta pick up more from Trader Joe's. :)

Catherine said...

This sounds like a great drink for the winter.
I agree with Maven, perfect for Valentine's day!

pixelgal said...

All the senses benefit from this wine or mulled whatever. The house smells so good for quite awhile. So mull away all you thirsty ones!

Deb said...

This would be perfect this week in Tampa where it feels like I'm back in New England - brrrr but alas I'm living on the beach for two weeks so no spirits for me right now :(

Julie said...

Sounds beautiful...I'd love to try it!

Donna-FFW said...

I can just imagine the lovely scent traveling through the house!!

Sounds like a most lovely, elegant drink.

Queen "B" said...

Yum, I will try this with Cider, I sure enjoy your blog
Aloha
Brandi

Daily Spud said...

I love me some mulled wine, Diva - thanks for the reminder that it doesn't have to stop just because Christmas is over :)

stephchows said...

nothing wrong with a little mulling :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds perfectly warming and delicious, great on a snowy cold day like today, I would love it right now!

Charmian @Christie's Corner said...

Brrrr. It's cold outside. Wonder what I can drink to warm up?

This sounds lovely. I haven't had mulled wine in years. I must try this very soon.

Juliana said...

I am sure that I'll love mulling as well :-) It is so perfect for this weather, look forward to try it!

Suzee said...

We are big cider mullers - I like the mulling spices from Stonewall Kitchen. For a party, we keep the cider in a crockpot, and if we mull a lot and have leftovers, we just put it in the fridge and microwave it later :) Fabulous!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Oooh, I love that we've got so many mulling fans here. Nice!

Great tip about the crockpot and the microwave re-heat, Suzee. Will def. give that a try. Thanks!

Dianne - great minds think alike! So nice to see you and Happy New Year ... will email you soon so we can catch up. :)

Thanks for all the wonderful comments here, everyone - you've made my day! :)

dana McCauley said...

Great choice for a cold day like today! Nice.

Selfo said...

The only good thing about Christmas is the mulled wine.