While the ubiquitous turkey and pumpkin pie are the main focus on Thanksgiving, drinks rank among the enhancements. For most Americans the weather will feature a chill in the air perfectly conducive to a welcoming hot beverage. One of my favorite drinks, mulled wine, is not only warming, but wonderfully aromatic. Your home will be extra inviting to your guests as they inhale the holiday aromas of mulled fruits and spices emanating from the kitchen.
The History of Mulled Wine
Prior to the Renaissance, mulled wines were often consumed at the end of a meal and served as a digestive. They were widely considered more sanitary to drink than the available water supply. Know as Ypocras, mulled wine was named after the Greek physician Hippocrates, who believed in treating the whole body. One 16th century recipe refers to the process of making mulled wines in which the spices were filtered through jelly bags which apothecaries referred to as micum Hippocratic or ‘sleeve of Hippocrates’.
A crock pot is the perfect way to keep your mulled wine warm and frees up space on your stove top. Plugging the crock pot into the wall away from the bustle of activity by the stove will allow your guests to help themselves without getting underfoot.
Note: It isn’t necessary to wait until the end of a meal to enjoy mulled wine. It’s especially welcome after coming in from the cold!
Following is my favorite classic Mulled Wine recipe, it’s a compendium of several traditional and historic mulled wine recipes slowly perfected over the past two decades. Enjoy!
Serves 8. Recipe may be multiplied.
2 bottles (750ml each) red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice because it won’t be overwhelmed by the spices and fruit. Zinfandel and Tempranillo will work as well, but any good full-bodied red will suffice.
1 medium orange
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch nutmeg
Cut orange in half and stud each half with 5 cloves. Place in non-reactive (stainless steel) pot and add all other ingredients. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a slow simmer. Do not boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes then pour into crock pot. Adjust heat to keep mulled wine hot and serve.