By Mark Jacklich
Bentley’s Grill Wine Steward
The holidays are here and with them comes shopping, feasting, and making memories with friends and family. This season I invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice hot cup of mulled wine.
The word “mulled” literally means a heated drink with added spices and sweetener to it. It dates back to the 14th century as it was a drink that was made when wine was about to go bad in order to preserve the wine.
This drink is great because it is one of those things you always get right, everyone has their own style. Go ahead, pick a country. Bulgaria? They make it with red wine, honey and peppercorns, sometimes adding citrus fruits. They call it greyano vino, meaning ‘heated wine’. In France, vin chaud (‘warm wine) is made with cheap red wine, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon, leaving this version less sweet. Romania sometimes uses white wine for it’s vin fiert (boiled wine), adding sugar and cinnamon.
In Nordic countries, mulled wine is referred to as ‘Glogg’, and the main ingredients are usually red wine, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves, as well as stronger spirits like vodka, akvavit, or brandy. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia, glogg spice extract and ready-mixed spices can be purchased in grocery stores. When made, it should be heated for at least an hour in order for all of the flavors to infuse, preferably longer. A good idea would be to make it in a crock pot to let all the flavors meld together for the whole day. I won’t tell if you sneak a cup before it’s ready!
While some places use cheap red wine for this holiday favorite, I prefer something a little more desirable to the palate, while still not breaking the bank. I suggest Trinity Vineyards Syrah or Eola Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. I hope you all enjoy your holiday season and I leave you with this mulled wine recipe. Feel free to make it your own and have fun experimenting!
Mark’s Mulled Wine
6 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced
3 large strips orange zest
3 large strips lemon zest
2 (750-ml) bottles red wine
3/4 cup honey
Add ingredients to slow cooker or large pot and heat thoroughly. Serve warm in mugs.