BY EMMANUEL HESSLER
photo credit: Katherine Macnaughton
We drink certain beverages simply because they are delicious, whereas others tend to grow on us, requiring time for our palates to adapt to new and challenging flavours. Time certainly develops maturity in our taste buds but also allows for memories to be created.
Mulled wine is, for me, greater than the sum of its ingredients and always seems infused with a magic component from the past. I remember a bundled hike up the snowy paths of Kirby Mountain, Vermont. As our group reached a windswept clearing, I pulled out a thermos of warm mulled wine, which brought a smile of anticipated pleasure to our frozen faces.
On another occasion, I remember wandering with my lover through Montreal’s Old Port during the Nuit Blanche festival. Small fire pits provided warmth for the passersby and street vendors further fuelled the romance by selling us small cups of vin chaud.
Whether your memories have been stirred or have yet to be crafted, I offer you this mulled wine recipe as a suggestion of how to prepare it. Remember that it can be modified to suit your tastes.
Yield: 10 glasses
100 g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg
1 vanilla pod
2 star anise
2 bottles of cheap red wine
- Peel clementines and lemon and place peels in a large sauce pan with sugar.
- Squeeze the clementine juice into the pan.
- Add cloves, cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg.
- Add the halved vanilla pod and heat over medium heat.
- Pour in just enough wine to cover the sugar and simmer until the sugar has dissolved .
- Bring the mixture to a boil and keep on a rolling boil for 4- 5 minutes.
- When the syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add the star anise and the rest of the wine.
- Simmer gently for 5 minutes and serve in a mug or brandy glass with garnishes such as lemon or orange peel and a stick of cinnamon.