It’s that bitterly cold time of year when you can’t feel your toes and sleeping with a hot water bottle is a must! If you like to indulge in the odd glass of wine at night to de-stress then I’m guessing that’s probably starting to feel like it’s a little too cold to handle too. I’m not a big drinker, in fact I hadn’t drank any alcohol for 4 years up until last month when I decided to create this recipe.
Eat, drink, and be merry with this Mandarin Mulled Wine – the ultimate spiced Christmas explosion without the processed sugar!
Let’s face it – there’s nothing more comforting than Mulled Wine – with every beautiful and heart-warming flavour of Christmas uniting to bring you the ultimate glass of nostaligia. When you start brewing it up in the pan it’s like a winter olfactory explosion has erupted in your kitchen and memories of Christmas cheer begin rustling their way through your mind. It’s time to grab those wooly jumpers, your favourite chunky mug, and get making my Mandarin Mulled Wine!
My version takes a slight twist on the classic mulled wine with the addition of mandarin juice and ginger wine. I know that most people feel that the addition of fruit juice creates a somewhat acidic end product but the sweetness of mandarin compliments the ever so slightly oaky flavour of my Argentinian Malbec. If you can’t get mandarins then some super sweet clementines would work well too.
Now, I know that un-oaked wines are traditionally used when making mulled wine but for me the sweetness is almost too cloying and overbearing to handle (a drawback of having such a clean diet) so I’ve opted for a young Malbec whose oaky flavours lean toward the side of subtlety but are also just enough to prevent the sweetness from becoming too cloying and overpowering.
This recipe requires you to make a sugar syrup base before adding your left over wine, the reason for doing so is to ensure that the beautiful flavours of the spices infuse into the wine and that you prevent burning off the alcohol, because nobody would want that now would they?! If you decide to bottle up your syrup to use a few days later just make sure you use a fresh bottle of wine when warming!
You can easily adapt this recipe – maybe leave out the vanilla for a slightly less sweet flavour or throw in some extra star anise. This is so easy to make your own so please do play around a little until you get your perfect Christmas Mulled Wine!
- 75-100g coconut sugar (or xylitol for sugar free option)
- Juice and peel of 1 mandarin
- Peel of 1 lemon
- Peel of 1 lime
- ½ Ndali Vanilla Pod (halved lengthways)
- 1 star anise
- 6 crushed green cardamom pods
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1" piece fresh root ginger (peeled and sliced)
- 3 cloves
- 20 gratings fresh nutmeg
- Bottle of Argentinian red such as Malbec/Merlot/Bonarda/Cabernet Sauvignon
- 75ml spiced ginger wine or 50ml spiced rum such as Kraken
- 2 mandarins (sliced)
- 1 cinnamon stick per glass
- Place the coconut sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Next add the mandarin, lemon, and lime peels, and the mandarin juice.
- Add the vanilla pod, star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, fresh root ginger, cloves, and your 20 gratings of fresh nutmeg. Stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar and spices.
- Give a quick stir and leave to simmer until the coconut sugar has completely dissolved, then bring to a gentle boil. Keep boiling for about 4 minutes, or until the wine resembles a slightly thicker sugar syrup. Take care to not burn your coconut sugar in the process!
- Next turn the heat down to low and add the rest of your red wine and ginger wine/rum. Gently heat for roughly 5 minutes, just to warm it through - do not boil! Ladle the mulled wine into heatproof glasses or some big chunky mugs and serve with a slice of mandarin and a cinnamon stick. If not serving immediately, you can allow the syrup to cool, then strain the spices and pour it into a sterilised bottle for use at a later date.