Maybe it's just because I don't really like red wine, or maybe it's supposed to taste that way, but to me most mulled wine is pretty evil. Bitter, barely a hint of mulled-ness and something you drink quickly just to get rid of it. I've been making my mulled wine for our mulled wine and mince pie parties for many years and it always seems to go down well. If there is such a thing as a mulled wine purest and you are one, then I'm very sorry for what you are about to read.
To make my mulled wine you will need:
A bottle of red wine (any old red will do) 250ml orange juice (gasp - horror - oh how awful) 3 tbsp. soft brown sugar (arghhhhh - what is she doing??) An orange (phew - that's more like it) 2 cinnamon sticks 8 cloves 1tsp ground cinnamon A good grating of nutmeg
Cinnamon sticks and orange slices to garnish.
Pour your wine into a saucepan over a low heat. I add orange juice to my mulled wine which I suppose makes it into more of a "mulled sangria" but it tastes sooooo much nicer. Add the juice now along with the sugar for sweetness (you can adjust this to your taste - sometimes I add more - I have a sweet tooth).
Cut your orange in half and stud half of it with some of the cloves. Toss the remaining cloves, the cinnamon sticks and the ground cinnamon (I think this gives it better flavour) into the pot and grate over some nutmeg. Use a potato peeler to take off some strips from the other half of the orange and add them into the wine. You can put the rest of the orange in as well if you like. Putting strips of peel in as well as the orange half seems to intensify the flavour.
Leave on a gentle heat for a good 30 minutes to mull. Taste it and adjust the flavourings if you like. Serve garnished with a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick for stirring.
I also make mulled cider in a similar way. Just tip a big bottle of cider into a large pan, add 500ml apple juice (instead of the orange juice) and all the spices and oranges, mull and then drink with wild abandon until it's time to act like a responsible adult and give your children tea and put them to bed. Which means in this house wild abandon is about a cup and a half.
You can also give it as presents - just allow it to cool, decant into a bottle and label. You could tie some spices up in some muslin too so that when the wine is reheated they can refresh the spices.
Let me know what you think?