Spice up your Christmas!

One of the best bits of Christmas, if not THE best bit is surely the food!

What makes us feel “Christmassy” is the smell of mulled wine brewing on a stove or the joy of your first warm mince-pie of the season. Often it is the tastes and smells that remind us of past Christmases and what they have meant to us.


So to get everyone in the festive mood here is my favourite recipe for mulled wine – a drink that shouldn’t just be reserved for Christmas! It’s perfect for warming up after a long winter walk, for greeting guests who are arriving in from the cold, for settling down for some Christmas TV…. I even have a friend who likes to take a glass up for a nightcap (but I’m not recommending that of course!).

Mulled wine is thought to have originated in the second century, when the Romans heated up wine with spices then shared the recipe as they battled their way across Europe. The German’s call it Glühwein, the Scandinavian’s have Glogg but to me, it’s Mulled Wine!

You are going to need:

  • 2 bottles of red wine (Italian always works well – maybe going back to the Romans!)
  • One orange spiked with cloves (about 20 or to your taste)
  • One sliced orange
  • Peel of an unwaxed lemon
  • A stick of cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • A splash of Cointreau (optional – or you could try brandy)
  • Optional extras – 5 cardamom pods, bruised, 1 star anise

Peel and juice the orange and add to a large saucepan along with the lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Increase the temperature to a simmer and cook until you have a thick syrup. If you are not serving the wine immediately, stop here!

When you are ready to serve, stud the second orange with cloves and add to the pan with the rest of the wine and any Cointreau or Brandy (you could even use ginger wine!). Heat through very gently, and don’t allow it to boil.

There you go, the smell and taste of Christmas in a glass! Have one or two for me!

You might also like to try:

This Festive Mulled Wine Cake that I found when I was researching. I have to say, I haven’t tried the cake, but it sounds INCREDIBLE!