For full disclosure, following some trying to get myself blogging again, I actually wrote about this at the weekend. This does mean I have a pre-made post though. The useful bits of my thoughts (i.e. the bits actually about making it!) are here:
I’ve learned over the years that when making stuff with booze, keeping the sugar and alcohol separate as long as possible is key, so I started by making a mulled syrup. Melting sugar with slices of orange and a pile of spices but don’t boil, we’re after a syrup, not a caramel (maybe I should try going for a caramel next time?!?).
Then I poured over the wine, turned off the heat and left it to steep for 20 minutes (again no with the boiling, we’re aiming for steep, not stew) and then finished it with a good slug of brandy.
I’m sure this is supposed to be a nice glass and a cinnamon stick with some tea lights in the background, ah well.
The results? Less than the sum of its parts.
It was noticeable better, though I’m not sure it was worth the effort vs the everything in a pan. It’s tasty and made both lovely girlfriend and I very happy. Maybe that’s the key to mulled wine. It’s not a great gourmet thing, but it does bring much joy.
Recipe (note amounts are very approximate!):
150g golden caster sugar
2 star anise
1 supermarket sized cinnamon stick
3 slices (a couple of mm thick) of fresh ginger
4 allspice berries
5 black peppercorns
1 piece of mace that I happened to find while looking for the allspice
bottle of (good? maybe not!) red wine
A slightly less generous glug of brandy than I used (you could also use rum, amaretto or anything else vaguely festive)