The ultimate mulled wine

Once again the Ho ho holiday season is upon us. And whilst it may feel due to the longevity of the Christmas lights on Regent Street that it started long ago, we all know it is only acceptable to begin your celebrations in December. One of the most traditional and delicious ways to begin is with a glass of mulled wine.

However, the quality of this beverage is fundamental to your enjoyment. There is a not-so-subtle difference between a drink that has been mulled in a wealth of fruit and spices and what is essentially hot wine in a Styrofoam cup.

As with most food and drink, it is best to avoid having your first sip of the season at any event or fair. Local Christmas fairs will usually mean a serious compromise on quality, whilst events like Winter Wonderland are almost guaranteed to be over-priced. In fact the most wonderful of mulled wines needn’t set you back at all, the kind you make yourself.

Why not avoid an average spend of five pounds per glass, and the risk of disappointment, when you can create an entire bottles worth for almost the same price. The truth is, once your drink has absorbed the taste of a wealth and fruit and spices it is no longer easy to tell the quality of the bottle. What this means is that you can get away with buying the cheapest own-brand bottle of red and turn it into something much more drinkable. Perfect for those of us on a budget. There are plenty of recipes out there but when it comes down to it, the best way is to choose your very own version that is a culmination of your favourite fruits and spices.

Jamie Oliver suggests using an Italian wine such as Chianti, the taste of which is strong, bold and fruity. Whilst this will cost you close to ten pounds, a bottle of red from Tesco for instance can come in at £3.49 and possess similar traits. To stop mulled wine becoming too sickly it is essential you include citrus fruits. The zest detracts from the syrup like quality of the beverage. Experiment with adding it fresh for an extra zing or allow it to fully mull into the liquid.

Another two mistakes to avoid are the balances of cinnamon and sugar. Too much sugar and you risk creating a sticky mess akin to a hot jam. Too much cinnamon and you risk choking anyone who dares to drink it.

In the spirit of remaining savvy, don’t forget you can store your mulled wine for up to three days after heating. Once the beverage has cooled refrigerate and enjoy on a nightly basis. However, mulled wine is a drink that actually gets more delicious the longer it has to ferment. As long as you have yet to heat your mixture, you can store it for up to a month to stew in its own spicy goodness.

How will you be making your mulled wine this holiday season? Tell us at WNOL_Life and Style.

Picture: Midwinterdream

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