There's more than one way to make this festive classic, and here's some ideas to get you started
It truly is – almost – the most wonderful time of the year. The lights are going up on the High Street, the festive tunes are playing in the supermarket, the panic is setting in. Are you feeling the Christmas spirit? You might think you're feeling it, but you're not really feeling it til you're wrapped up in watching It's A Wonderful Life, Elf, or Die Hard, and you feel that mulled wine aroma awakening your senses, stirring up old memories and making the house smell like Christmas.
Whether you're hosting friends and family, or just having a night in, rustling up some mulled wine is the perfect Christmas treat. There's more than one way to make this festive classic, and here's some ideas to get you started.
The nation's best known foodie has always had a few tricks up his sleeve. Oliver's YouTube channel features a few mulled wine recipes, each with their own stamp.
People try and warn you, they say 'don't mix your drinks!' What do they know? J Rivera, from Oliver's Fifteen restaurant, has long ignored this advice and uses 100ml of spiced rum to top off his recipe. That's wine and rum together, folks!
First up, Rivera makes a syrup, using caster sugar, the zest and juice of an orange, lemon and lime, vanilla pods, cloves, a cinnamon stick, star anise, grated nutmeg and half a bottle of wine. Once the sugar has dissolved, he adds another 1 and a ½ bottles of wine, before adding that special ingredient, a few measures of spiced rum, in at the end. Delicious!
Gennaro Contaldo takes a different approach altogether. A proud Italian, Gennaro's take on mulled wine is a homage to his country. Rather than making a syrup, he pours two bottles of full bodied, red Italian wine straight into the pot, keeping it on a low heat. Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar, he grinds an adventurous mix: 2 star anise, 20 cloves, a handful of pink and a teaspoon of black peppercorns, 6 cardamom pods, 2 sprigs rosemary, a handful of fresh thyme and a teaspoon of both chilli flakes and fennel seeds.
Directly into the wine, he adds 3 bay leaves, 8 figs, 2 vanilla pods, and then peels, squeezes and drops an orange and a lemon into the pot. After that he adds a stick of cinnamon, before bringing more booze into the mix with 150ml limoncello and 50ml sweet vermouth. The final flourishes come with 3 tablespoons of honey and some freshly grated nutmeg. Add the spice mix from the pestle and mortar, stir, and you've got yourself an Italian mulled wine! Careful not to boil the wine, or you'll lose all the alcohol from it, which wouldn't be any good at all.
Donal Skehan's recipe is less complicated than Gennaro's. He mixes 200g of caster sugar with the zest and juice of 2 clementines, a lemon and a lime. He adds 6 cloves and 3 bay leaves to get an aromatic hum, and in addition adds around 12 shavings of nutmeg and one vanilla pod. Then, he covers with ½ a bottle of red wine, bringing this to the boil to create a syrup. Once that's done, he adds in the other 1 and a ½ bottles, and for a final flourish two star anise, heating it all for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Bella.
The foul-mouthed bad boy of the foodie world has his own angelic take on the mulled wine recipe. First, Ramsay pours 2 bottles of wine into a pot and then – using muslin cloth – wraps up cardamom pods, a pinch of cloves, some star anise, a cinnamon stick, and for a fragrant twist some lemongrass too. Creating something resembling a giant teabag, he drops it into the wine.
After that, he adds the zest of an orange, before cutting the remainder into wedges and adding that too. A tablespoon of demerara sugar and some stem ginger finishes the job. Heat it gently for five minutes and voila, that's some f**king good mulled wine for you to serve up, if you do it f**king properly.
National treasure Mary Berry has a simple, effective mulled wine recipe that's always a winner on a cold winter's day.
First, she peels the zest very thinly from 3 lemons and 1 orange, and squeezes the juice too. After that she thinly slices an extra lemon and orange, quartering the slices and saving those for a garnish. In a large pan she adds 2 bottles of red wine, 2 pints of water, the citrus peel and juices, along with 12 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks. She simmers the mix on a low heat for an hour, stirring in some sugar to taste.
The Hairy Bikers
The dynamic duo, David Myers and Simon 'Si' King, use Brandy as the special extra ingredient for their mulled wine. But before we get to that, start off by cutting 4 tangerines, clementines or satsumas (whichever your favourite happens to be, or whatever's easiest to obtain) into thick slices. Add those to a large pot, with a vanilla pod, split lengthways, 8 cloves, 8 allspice berries, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise and 3 bay leaves, before stirring in 300g of caster sugar. Then, pour in 2 bottles of red, plus 200ml of brandy and gently simmer for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping to stir. Magnificent!