Mulled wine

The following two recipes come from my first book Modern British Food (see Books).  They are both based on Victorian recipes.

Mulled wines are still very popular in Britain, as is apparent from the annual appearance of little spice bags in the supermarkets each winter.  Theses are supposed to be infused into hot wine, just like a tea bag.  This rather clinical approach somehow rather diminishes the romance of mulling your own wine, which after all dates back at least to the Normans with their spicy hippocras.

Mulled Claret 1

A mild-tasting mulled wine

Makes 8-9 glasses

1 bottle claret

425ml/ pint water

1 small cinnamon stick

caster sugar, to taste

freshly grated nutmeg, to taste


1  Slowly heat the claret, water and cinnamon stick in a non-corrosive saucepan to just below boiling point.  Add the sugar and nutmeg to taste and serve piping hot.


Mulled Claret 2

This is a stronger and more spicy than the recipe above, but is very warming. If you`d like a more powerful drink, add 285ml/1/2 pint boiling water and 55ml/2 fl oz brandy at the last minute.

Makes 6 glasses

12 cloves

2 blades mace

4 allspice berries

1 small stick cinnamon

3 strips lemon peel

3 strips orange peel

1 bottle claret or a robust red wine

caster sugar, to taste


1  Tie the cloves, mace, allspice berries and cinnamon stick in a small clean piece of muslin.  Place with the citrus peel in the wine and slowly heat to just below boiling point. 


2  Allow to infuse for 15 minutes, keeping the wine warm but never allowing it to boil. 


3  Sweeten to taste, remove the spices and peel, and erve piping hot.





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