Time for a seasonal beverage. Mulled wine is basically the same as the French 'vin chaud' or the German/Austrian 'Glühwein'.
Couple of cautionary guidelines: you don't want it to boil; you also don't want to heat it for too long - you'll get bitter overtones out of the cloves etc if you do - remove these if you need to reheat.
- Couple of bottles of a nice full bodied red wine. Something like a Chilean or Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't go for really cheap wine - it won't taste any good!
- Equal amount of water (1.5 litres)
- 1 orange studded with cloves (probably about 2 dozen)
- 2 oranges and 2 lemons sliced
- 6 tablespoons of sugar (I prefer demerara, but ordinary granulated is fine) or use honey - I tend to use a mix of both
- Whole cinnamon stick (2 or 3 inches) broken in two
- 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
- Some fruit liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, cherry brandy etc) or brandy or port
- Put everything except the liqueur/brandy/port into a large saucepan or pot (I use an 8 pint pot)
- Heat up to simmering point, stir with a wooden spoon to ensure sugar dissolves
- DO NOT allow it to boil
- Allow to barely simmer for about 20 minutes - do not overdo this as it will get a bitter taste from the cloves
- Just before serving, add a good slug of liqueur/brandy/port
- Check taste and add sugar if necessary
You can prepare in advance, but don't add the liqueur/brandy/port, reheat and then add at the end (or you will boil the alcohol off).
Tip for serving: dip a small jug into the pot and pour through a tea strainer into wine glasses to serve - much less messy!