Steve’s Mulled Wine

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Regarding the wine choice, there were lots of suggestions for merlot or cabernet.  I am sure they are nice but with thespices, I thought they would be too full bodied and spicy.  Too much of a good thing really.  We ended up choosing a inexpensive Chilean pinot noir.  It was lighter than the other suggestions but more full bodied than an American pinot.  I still think this is the right call.  But regardless, the real key is not necessarily to buy something nice, but don’t buy something bad.  No matter how much spice or sugar you add, you will still taste the underlying wine. 

Ingredients

250g/9oz sugar
1 orange sliced into 5-6  pieces, squeeze the juice into the mix
1 lemon peel in strips
6-7 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
2 bottles red wine
400ml/1.75 cups water


Method

Basically, you’re just mixing all of the ingredients and bringing to a simmer.  But, the risk is bringing it to a full boil for too long and boiling off the alcohol (gasp!).  The better approach is to add the sugar, orange slices, lemon peels, cloves, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves to a big pot and add just enough wine to cover the sugar.  Bring this mixture to a full boil for 5-10 min to make a syrup. Then add the rest of the wine, the water and the star anise and simmer, just short of a boil.  The water is necessary to keep the mulled wine from being too thick or syrupy, but it can be added to taste.  Let simmer long enough to fill the house with the smell — that’s half the fun.

Serve warm and enjoy.

Note: Of the other common ingredients in other recipes, I skipped the vanilla bean, limes, and peppercorns– just my preference but feel free to experiment with them.