Recipe: Jo's famous mulled wine
I love mulled wine. It's warm, comforting and festive. I've been known to serve it from Halloween onwards, some years!
The quality of your mulled wine depends on the quality of the wine that you use, I've had terrible mulled wine because it's been made with dirt cheap, rough red wine. This is definitely time to remember the basic rule of baking: if you put good things in you'll get good things out.
Choose something big and fruity like a Rioja, Merlot or Shiraz. It doesn't have to be stupidly expensive - please don't mull a £50 bottle of deliciousness - but don't use a £3 bottle either. I tend to go for a £6-ish bottle.
You're adding spices to this so don't pick anything delicate or overly complex. Avoid the Pinot Noir on this one!
This recipe is based on one bottle of wine, but I also save up empty bottles, make it in bulk and then rebottle it after sterilising the bottles first.
1 bottle of bold, fruity red wine
300ml fresh orange juice (without bits)
80g caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
10 cardamom pods
1 inch piece of blade mace OR 1 bay leaf
You'll also need a large pan, a wooden spoon, a square of muslin and string.
1) Place all the spices in the middle of the muslin and use the string to tie it into a bag.
2) Give the bag a good whack with a rolling pin to loosen up the spices a bit
3) Put the wine, orange juice, sugar and spice bag into the large pan on a low heat a stir gently, making sure that the bag is wet through.
4) Slice the orange and lemon and add the slices to the pan.
5) Heat on a very low heat for 15 minutes to let the spices infuse. Don't let the wine boil.
6) Fish out the spice bag, lemon and orange slices and then serve the wine in mugs or latte glasses.
Finally, if you can't be bothered to make the spice bags, use pre made mulled wine sachets. You can get ones like teabags. Use two of them per bottle if you want to get any flavour!