Mulled wine is the key drink of winter. For the end of the year, many people are waiting for the skiing holidays. During this cooler season, winter specialties are making their comeback such as mulled wine, being part of winter must-have drinks.
What is the story of mulled wine?
Mulled wine is a concocted beverage with spices and wine. Most countries and French regions are using red wine but it exists recipes with white wine, in Alsace for example. Sweetened with sweet products such as honey, it is best drunk during the winter period.
The pairing of wine and spices dates back to the Roman times. The Romans added honey, pepper, bay leaves, walnuts and dates. This beverage was drunk during banquets to aid digestion. The extension of the Roman Empire made spicy wines popular throughout Europe.
During medieval times, different versions of this drink appeared: they were sweeter, and with other spices such as clove and cinnamon. Germany is one of the countries drinking the most mulled wine during the festive season, it is known as “Glühwein”. Sweden is also a big consumer and named the drink after “Glögg”. The tasting during Christmas time is a tradition which became famous in the 1890s. Each wine merchant had his own version of it, which was sold in bottles with more or less original labels.
An ideal beverage to get warm on the ski slopes?
Drinking this type of drink on the slopes, after a good day’s skiing, or another sliding sport, is a pleasure adopted by a growing public every winter in France. In fact, this wine is very popular in Scandinavian countries, where the need to stay warm is essential in winter. Spicy mulled wine is best served in small glass or stoneware cups with a slice of fruit cake, strong tasting cheeses such as mimolette or aged cheddar. However, as with driving, alcohol decreases alertness and reflexes while on skis. It is therefore preferable to savour this wine at the bottom of the slopes and as the expression: “After the effort, comfort” underlines it so well!
How to prepare mulled wine?
It exists many different recipes to prepare a good mulled wine with red or white wine, different spices, a local alcohol, juice, fruits, honey, etc. Some are sweeter, fruitier, bitterer, spicier or has more alcohol. Therefore, there is something for everyone. Here is a simple recipe from which you can create your favourite beverage as you wish…
1.5 litre of red wine (not too full-bodied)
½ orange or orange peel
150g of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 aniseed stars, 2 cloves
Mix in a saucepan and bring the beverage to a boil, very gently. Then let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, filter the wine through a sieve before serving it very hot and everything is ready!
Come and visit the wineries in winter and enjoy tasting experiences to discover all the secrets of winemaking made possible thanks to wine tourism!