If you’re like me and absolutely love the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, then this is the time of year that we’ve all been waiting for. There are certain things that are synonymous with Christmas and the holiday seasons, such as city streets lined with holiday decorations of bright lights and festive garlands, storefronts exuding aromatic spices and savory aromas that permeate the normally foul smelling air, velvety smooth chocolates at every turn, and loads of wines and spirits in every size, flavor, and variety. It’s the one time of the year where conservative portions are ill-advised and more (not less) is delightfully anticipated and accepted.
Along with the holiday season comes traditions and favorites (old and new), including everything from handed down family recipes of savory goodness to century old timeless staples. Wine has been in existence since as early as 7000 B.C. from Asia to Europe to the Americas. Fermented drinks have become a symbol of transformation and have been referenced in literary works as signs of happiness, luxury, and friendship.
Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, first made its appearance in the 2nd century A.D. by the Romans as an effort to warm the body during cold nights. By definition, “mulled” means to heat, sweeten and flavor with spices. By process, it is a red wine that has been treated, heated and sifted to harmoniously marry spices such as cinnamon, anise and cloves with hints of orange flavor (if desired). Mulled wine can be served hot or warm and can be found in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties. Although it can be enjoyed anytime, it is a popular beverage made throughout Europe mostly available around Christmas. Mulling spices are not limited to wines–they can also be found in mulled cider or ale, when the spices are added during the brewing process to make spiced beer.
It has been said that one should “take a little wine for the stomach’s sake,” but it has also been noted that mulled wine might have some health benefits similar to red wine.
For year-round indulgence, try the following recipe: