Nothing makes you feel cozier on a cold winter night than a warm mug of mulled wine. This mix of wine, fruit and different spices got its name from an Old English word meaning “muddled.”
Most mulled wine recipes begin with dry red wine; my personal favorite is Alexander Valley Temptation Zinfandel, and you can then use brandy or port to fortify the wine. Depending upon what you like, adding fresh citrus fruits and your favorite spices really set this drink apart.
1 (750ml) bottle of your favorite dry red wine (Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah work well)
¼ cup brandy (E&J Brandy is a good buy, but anything will do)
¼ cup honey or sugar*
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange – peeled & sliced (keep peel to add zest to the flavor while cooking)
5 whole cloves
1 tsp. fresh ginger
To make the perfect mulled wine, combine all of the ingredients together in either a large pot on the stove or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling) for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar is completely dissolved. When the wine is steaming and the flavors have been blended, it is ready to serve.
*The ¼ cup of honey or sugar makes a sweeter-styled mulled wine; feel free to cut honey/sugar down to taste. —Jessica Tapper, Eden Prairie Liquor store manager.