Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mulled Wine

My quest for mulled wine began a week or so ago when one of my Facebook friends posted a status update searching for a recipe for it. I'd never made it before, and I didn't want to be left out on what I felt was a challenge, so I went to the Internet and started doing some reading on the subject.  It's enjoyed the world over, but particularly in cold mountainous climate.  I have a feeling that traditionally, after the harvest, a certain percentage of wine usually went bad because folks didn't have a good understanding of fermentation science.  It's not unusual even today for a fermentation to stop for no good reason, but because we have a better understanding of how this process works, there are methods for aiding a "stuck" fermentation.  It seems that the industrious winemakers would take their lemons and simply turn them into lemonade or mulled wine in this case.

There are a litany of ingredients that can be added to mulled wine.  The best thing about these recipes is that you're adding so much flavor that starting with a base wine that is a little sub-par isn't such a bad thing. I used Carlo Rossi jug Merlot that I bought for a song at $8.99. It was the only ingredient that I needed to purchase, and I have enough leftover to make Coq au Vin. Combined recipes for Vin chaud, Glühwein, Glögg, and Navegado that I read called for cinnamon, cloves, vanilla pods, star anise, oranges, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, brown sugar, honey, rum, brandy, almonds, raisins, and currants.... whew! All of these sound delicious, and if I were to make mulled wine again, I'd likely experiment with some of the flavors that I didn't use this time around.  The vanilla pod sounds like a winner.  But here's what I did this time, simply because these were all things I happened to have laying around in the liquor cabinet and in my kitchen.

Citrus Quark's Mulled Wine

1/2 gallon jug red wine
1/2 bottle dark rum
1/2 bottle Armenian brandy
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 whole orange, sliced
6 pods star anise
4 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves
2 tablespoons grated ginger
  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot set to high and cover.  Bring to a simmer.  This should take about one hour.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let sit for another hour still covered.  This will help all of those flavors to come together.
  3. To serve, ladle into mugs and garnish with an orange slice and grated nutmeg if you like.

1 comment: