Mulled wine…I can’t think of anything more cheerful to sip on when the weather gets chilly and the nights start drawing in. And while I promised myself I wouldn’t make my first pot for at least another few weeks I couldn’t help but break the rules. I think I can get away with it though since instead of using a traditional rich red wine I’ve made it with white – using a bottle of parsnip wine I put down last winter. It’s sweet, spicy and the rich aroma of cinnamon and cloves can’t help but bring back memories of snowy nights and holiday music.
Mulled wine is a traditional drink that I associate with enjoying outdoors at German Christmas Markets. At the beginning of every December, communities all across the continent decorate their streets with twinkling white lights while vendors and musicians fill the night air with holiday tunes and the sweet scents of sweet toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts and steaming ‘Glühwein’. Open everyday in the weeks leading up to Christmas, friends meet regularly at these markets to warm up with a hot drink and chat themselves merry. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the Christmas season.
For me today’s mulled white wine is just a taste of holiday fun to come. It’s also a great way to use up a bottle of wine I find a bit too sweet to drink chilled. For most people the thought of making wine from parsnips can sound bizarre, but they truly make one of the smoothest and sweetest dessert wines you’ve ever tasted. Its distinctive flavour is one well known to English country folk and it is still one commonly made by the small producer. But if you don’t have a bottle at hand, try this recipe with a more conventional white wine.
Mulled White Wine
Makes 2-3 servings
1 75cl bottle of white wine (Parsnip wine is optional)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 long strips of Orange (or mandarin) peel
3 long strips of Lemon peel
Up to 3 Tbsp of dark brown sugar or molasses (Optional)
Orange slices and additional cinnamon sticks (Optional)
1. Collect all your ingredients together and keep them at hand. You can choose to use a zester to remove the peel from the lemon and orange peel or just use an ordinary peeler to take larger strips as I’ve done.
2. Put everything except for the sugar/molasses into a pan, cover it with a lid and then warm it over medium heat for 15 minutes. Make sure it’s steaming but does not reach a boil.
3. Turn the heat off after the 15 minutes is up but leave the pan where it is for an additional 30 minutes. The spices and fruit will further infuse the wine during this time. Taste after this infusion time is up and sweeten to your taste with the sugar and molasses. I didn’t actually add any sugar to my own pot since the wine was sweet enough but if you use a dryer wine you’ll definitely need it.
4. Ladle into mugs, add a cinnamon stick and slice of orange and serve with a slice of orange on the lip of the mug. Enjoy ~
The required ingredients for Mulled White Wine