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By Angela Peterson

I love cold weather! I love snuggling up with soft fuzzy blankets, sitting by the fire, and breaking out my sweater and scarf collection. But no matter how soft that blanket is, nothing compares to a nice hot cup of mulled wine. I first discovered mulled wine while shopping at the Christmas markets in Germany. One sip and I was completely hooked. When I was studying pastry in France, I was known for using my coffee maker as a slow cooker to mull wine instead of using it for brewing coffee and then carrying the coffee pot around from dorm to dorm as we had dinner, chatted, and watched movies.

Mulling is heating, sweetening, and flavoring a beverage with spices. The good news is you can mull pretty much any beverage! I can’t stop the snow or keep the temperature above freezing, but I can give you some tips, tricks, and recipes to keep you warm this season!


TIPS for Mulling:
• Many countries have their own mulled drinks for the holidays, so do some searching and find what sounds good to you.
• The best red wines for mulling: California Zinfandel, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Francs and Sauvignons, and Merlot due to their fruit-forward flavors.
• Use white wines that are not too acidic, such as Moscato, Viognier, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or an oaked Chardonnay. You can use port for a sweeter, more dessert-style mulled wine.
• When mulling ales, stay away from hoppy beers with high IBUs. Try using English Milds and
Brown Ales, Belgian Lambics, Lagers like Dunkels, Bocks, or Dopplebocks.
• It is also important to add the ale to the slow cooker or saucepan before heating it to avoid it
foaming over the container.
• If you want to make them alcohol-free, you can use juice! I recommend cranberry juice, apple
cider, or pomegranate juice.

TRICKSs for Mulling:
• Use whole spices and don’t use generic “mulling spices”. While you will notice that the spices
used in mulling overlap quite a bit, you want to choose the right spices for the base you are using. Plus, you have more control over what flavors you increase and decrease, allowing you to create the perfect blend for you!
• Toast the spices before steeping them to enhance the flavor without having to overheat your base.
• If you choose to add brandy, whiskey, or another type of hard alcohol, don’t add it until you serve your mulled drink.
• Heat your mulled drink low and slow in a crockpot for about 4 hours. If you need it faster, heat in a saucepan on simmer for 30 to 60 minutes, never boil!
• You can either strain the whole spices out of the mix or put them in a sachet to keep them from
ending up in your cup.

RECIPES:
Toast the whole spices by heating them in a skillet on medium heat until they are fragrant. Stir the spices or shake the pan frequently to avoid burning them. Since the spices vary dramatically in size, it is best to toast them separately. Pour the base alcohol or juice into the slow cooker then add the spices and any citrus or other fruit. Leave in the slow cooker on low for 3 to 4 hours, strain as needed, add any alcohol you want, and then serve!

*** If you want your mulled drink faster, you can steep it in a pot. Start on high heat until the liquid is warm, then simmer on low heat for 30 to 60 minutes.***

Mulled Red Wine – Recipe from gimmesomeoeven.com

  • 1 750 ml red wine
  • 1 orange (leave rind and slice)
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2-4 TBL Honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 c Brandy

Mulled White Wine – Recipe from food52.com

  • 1 750 ml bottle dry or off-dry white wine
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 2 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons honey, or to taste • 1/4 cup pear brandy
  • 1 Asian pear (sliced for garnish)

Mulled Cider – Recipe from Serious Eats

  • 3 (3-inch) sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, pressed until they just crack open
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 star anise pod
  • 1 quart (900ml) high-quality apple cider
  • Optional additions (see note): 1 tablespoon (15ml) brandy, raw sugar, lemon zest • Extra brandy, lemon slices, and/or freshly grated nutmeg, for serving (optional)

Mulled Beer – Recipe from craftbeering.com

  • 18 oz Christmas ale (or Altbier, bock lager, winter warmer ale)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar, use more if you want ale to taste really sweet
  • 4-6 cloves to taste
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 6 pieces orange peel, thin top layer of skin only, without the bitter white layer
  • 3 oz brandy, substitute with Cognac if you feel like splurging

Mulled Mead – Recipe from menofmead.com (Other fun mulled mead recipes can be found at https://www.alehorn.com)

  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, smashed with a hammer
  • Half a thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 slice of orange rind
  • 1 slice of lemon rind
  • 1 bottle of top quality, traditional still mead

Now let’s get fun with it!

Dominican Spiced Cider – Recipe from food52.com

  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup amber rum
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons dried fine cut chamomile herb & flower
  • 2 tablespoons dried valerian root

Mulled Pineapple Cocktail – Recipe from kitchenetteblog.com

  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 6 ounces dark rum
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out

Non-Alcoholic Mulled Cranberry

  • 4 cups (1 litre) cranberry juice
  • 2 slices lemon
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 slices ginger, about 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) thick
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) brown sugar
  • 1 clove
  • 2 star anise