Since the 22nd of September, we have been enjoying the falling of leaves and the crisp wind that has brought in Autumn. Here at Student Experience, we love welcoming the new season and what better way to do that then with a mug full of mulled wine! Now I am no stranger to just going to the nearest shop and buying it premade and in truth, it’s pretty tasty! That being said, nothing beats making your own blend with just the right amount of spice to sweetness ratio that caters to your preference. It’s also a fantastic activity to do with friends, standing over the stove watching it brew as you catch each other up on the latest updates in your life. Now that I have your attention...let me tell you where to start when making your own mulled wine!
The first thing to think about is your base, the red wine. I find that you’re best off using a Merlot or Zinfandel as they tend to be more fruity and fuller in body meaning they can take in all the spices you’re going to be adding! If you’re at the shops, look out for a label that says jammy or has “hints of Vanilla” as this will tend to be those wines that are best for adding spices to. If you don’t drink alcohol however, then you can always go for an alcohol-free option where you can still enjoy all the flavour mulled wine has to offer.
After you find the perfect bottle of wine to form the spine of your drink, you’ll then add in some zesty oranges for that kick of citrus flavour. Try to go for the smaller variety of oranges for a sweeter pallet and that way the round slices will fit perfectly into your cup (got to think about those Instagram opportunities!). For a single batch (one bottle of wine) I would use three oranges in total; 2 for juicing and then adding to the wine and the third for cutting into slices and adding to the pot. Not only do the slices look great decoratively, but the peel/skin adds a layer of bitterness which cuts through the other flavours you’ll be adding nicely.
The next thing to get ready are your spices! The selection I tend to go for are whole sticks of cinnamon, star of anise and whole cloves. The key to this is to go for whole spices as this will allow you to maintain that silky texture. Once these are added to the pot, along with your orange and wine, keep the heat low. Remember, low and slow is the key to getting the best result in this case as it allows all the flavours to gradually seep into the mixture whilst keeping the delicate flavours in the wine. If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, then you can go ahead and add some maple syrup or honey to it. Once that’s all added and the hob is on, it’s all about adjusting to taste until you find that perfect blend to suit your preference.
Once that’s heated and you like the spice to sweetness ratio, just grab a ladle and mug and start pouring away. Grab some fluffy socks and a blanket so you can enjoy the crisp outdoors with your warm mug of nectar. If you prefer to go by an exact recipe then fear not, here is one I found that I think you’ll love!