Every family has their Christmas traditions and in mine there are always lots of family events and occasions in the lead up to the big day where these traditions are upheld. My Dad’s birthday is four days before Christmas and we always have a family meal on Christmas Eve as well so there’s a lot of festive cooking going on in my house. Traditionally my Mum and I are busy doing all the food and my sister (always in charge of drinks and nibbles) makes the mulled wine.
For me the festive season just wouldn’t be the same without the mulled wine. It’s always the first stall I hunt down at any Christmas market I’m visiting. It’s like Christmas in a cup and a lovely warming treat in the cold weather. It also makes a great drink to offer your friends and family as they all arrive on Christmas day.
Mulled wine is very easy to make, we like to use a sachet of supermarket own brand mulled wine spices (they work a bit like tea bags) and add our own little extras. There’s no need to use your expensive bottle of red that someone’s bought you for a Christmas present either, you’re adding lots of bits to it so cheap red wine will do fine. So here’s my family recipe for you, and if you really want to follow my family traditions then make yourself a batch on Christmas Eve and enjoy it whilst watching The Snowman on DVD.
100ml warm water
1 large satsuma or small orange
1 star anise
half a dozen cloves
1 bottle red wine
1tsp grated nutmeg
1 sachet mulled wine spices (available in most supermarkets)
1. In a large saucepan on a low-medium heat dissolve the sugar in warm water.
2. Throw in the orange/satsuma peel and 3-4 segments, plus the cloves and star anise and allow to infuse for a couple of minutes.
3. Pour in the red wine and add the sachet of mulled wine spices.
4. Grate in the nutmeg.
5. Gently stir and warm through for about 5 minutes allowing everything to infuse and ensure that you’ve warmed the wine up enough to a nice hot drinking temperature. You don’t want to heat too much that the alcohol starts cooking of but you do want the wine to be nice and warming to drink so the trick is slow and gentle.
6. Use a small ladle to serve into small cups (yes we have designated mulled wine cups in my house – these are my sister’s new ones for her own flat).