Making mulled wine
Mulled wine, variations of which are popular
around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and
typically served warm. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during
winter, especially around Christmas.
Glühwein is the type of mulled wine popular in
German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in France. It is usually
prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods,
cloves, citrus and sugar. Fruit wines such as blueberry wine and cherry wine are
rarely used instead of grape wine in Germany. Glühwein is drunk pure or "mit
Schuss", which means there is rum or liqueur added. The French name is vin
chaud (hot wine).
Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic
countries. The main classic ingredients are (usually) red wine, sugar or syrup,
spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange, and
optionally also stronger spirits such as
akvavit or brandy. In Sweden, glögg spice extract can be
purchased at the chemist.
To prepare glögg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into
the wine, which is then heated to 60°-70° Celsius (140°-158° Fahrenheit). The
temperature should not be allowed to rise above 78.4° Celsius (173.12°
Fahrenheit) in order to avoid evaporation of the alcohol. When preparing
home-made glögg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least
an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. In Sweden ready-made
wine glögg is normally sold ready to heat and serve and not in concentrate or
extract form. Glögg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and
gingerbread, and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.
Glögg recipes vary widely; variations with white wine or
sweet wines such as Madeira, or spirits such as brandy are also popular. Glögg
can also be made alcohol-free by replacing the wine with fruit or berry juices
(often blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg for a few minutes to evaporate the
A traditional recipe of British mulled wine can be found in Mrs Beeton's
Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised
edition dated 1869:
TO MULL WINE.
INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large
cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.
Mode.-In making preparations
like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact
proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what
quantity might suit one person would be to another quite
distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the
flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and
bring the whole to the boiling-point, then serve with
strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices
usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg,
and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled,
but port and claret are those usually selected for the
purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion
of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be
delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for
the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a
trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if
the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the
wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour.
These warmers should be used for no other purpose.