This winter will go down as the winter of mulled wine for us. I’ve been obsessed – both with the taste and the cooking smell that fills the kitchen. If we get invited over to a mate’s for dinner, I rock up with some. Nowhere to go? No worries, hubby and I will share a batch. Oh yes, I have all the hallmarks of a good pisshead. I’ve tried to give up alcohol but I’ve decided life is just too short and, frankly, I won’t bother again. I’ll try my best with moderation, luckily there are sites like beerandwine.guide that could me tell if wine goes off.
The thing with mulled wine is that you don’t really need to follow a recipe. I mix it up every time using whatever cheap (but grunty) red plonk I’ve found on sale. I’ve added bay leaves, cardamon powder, substituted mandarins for oranges, used lime instead of lemon. See? You can absolutely play around. On the note of cheap plonk, don’t dip into your bank account for a top shelf red – think cheap. I’ve also been playing around with the abundance of spices I have in my pantry. I’ve even added port (boom – it’s good) and on a different day, cider: I reckon you’d have to try pretty hard to go wrong (for Pete’s sake, touch some wood if you are a kitchen disaster).
The first time I had mulled wine was when I was 19 years old, living in the UK. I spent my first Christmas in London with four Aussie mates who were house-sitting. We were left in charge of a gorgeous home on the strict understanding that we were “not to break anything”. My mate Kate whipped up a batch of mulled wine and poured the boiling hot delicious concoction into beautiful crystal wine glasses… Which instantly shattered. She did this not once, but twice: Some would say she’s not a fast learner.
What happened? We spent Boxing Day trawling High Street Kensington searching for replacement crystal wine glasses (which turned out to be a wedding present…). As good bitches, we agreed to split the cost of the replacements between us and, of course, Sod’s bloody law, we couldn’t find exact matches, so we had to buy 12 new ones to replace the whole set. I can’t remember how much we spent, but, on account of earning £4.50 per hour in retail at the time, I ate two minute noodles for about a month afterwards coz I was so skint! Luckily I went on to live in Germany not long after: My sole experience with mulled wine was improved drastically and happier memories were lodged! (more…)