Mulled wine. Not everyone loves it. I do. Not only because one sniff and I’m over the driving limit, but for the SMELL. There is nothing nicer than entering a home in December and being greeted by the smell of pine needles, cinnamon and orange. The only thing better than having mulled wine simmering away, is it simmering away in the slow cooker where you don’t have to keep an eye on it. I use my slow cooker for as much as possible, as nothing burns, it smells amazing and of course it’s cheaper to run than your standard electric/gas run oven. It’s always nice to have a beverage to offer, and at Christmas you often get drop-ins. I hate mulled wine being served in the wrong glass. I’m a BIT of a glass snob (aside from using a port glass as an egg cup, that was just common sense) and it’s important to me that I serve the right beverage in the correct glass. Controversially, I serve mulled wine in a Russian tea glass.
This is for two reasons. The first is that it’s thicker and therefore will not strain and crack under the heat of the liquid. The second is that it has a handle. Who serves a hot beverage in a cup with no handle?! … Apart from Starbucks and their take away cups … or the Turkish (in my defence their cups are teeny tiny and you can probably crush them in one fist). Of course I get my glasses from Ikea (as with all my glass ware it seems, and no, still no endorsement GOD DAMN THEM) they’re 60 pence each. Equally useful for hot cider (recipe is blogged). So the recipe.
This recipe serves 6 (or one with 6 refills). I do a lot by guess work as you should know by now. My first bit of advice is to taste as you’re going along, some people LIKE star anise and some people prefer it sweeter etc.
1 ½ bottles of red wine. The cheaper the better (seriously the process when heated works better on a rubbish bottle/carton)
2 litres of orange juice (two cartons, Tesco value just 65 pence each)
3 star anise
350g white sugar (always add this AFTER the orange juice, and add slowly so you can decide how sweet you want it…add through the cooking period if needs be so you can see how the alcohol is cooking off).
2 oranges, sliced and pipped
2 cinnamon sticks
Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker, barring ALL of the sugar. Add this bit by bit and taste as you go, you don’t want the orange juice making too sweet and then adding a load of sugar on top, (divide ingredients by three if there’s just two of you).
Do this around 11am to be served from 3pm onwards. If you have a hallway log burner (we do) then pour into a large steel pan and pop it on there to stay hot, it’ll help the smell go through the house. I obviously wouldn’t recommend this if you have children who can pull it on themselves or drink it!
Please drink responsibly https://www.drinkaware.co.uk