Each day from now until Christmas day one article will be devoted to a subject connected with Christmas. Today we take a look at Mulled Wine.
Mulled wine, variations of which are popular around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. Historically, wine often went bad. By adding spices and honey, it could be made drinkable again. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas.
GlühweinGlühwein is popular in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace inFrance. It is the traditional beverage offered and drunk on Weihnactsmarkten. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. Fruit wines such as blueberry wine and cherry wine are rarely used instead of grape wine in Germany. Glühwein is drank pure or "mit Schuss", which means there is rum or liqueur added. The french name is vin chaud (hot wine).
The oldest Glühwein tankard is documented in the high noble German and first Riesling grower of the world, Count John IV. of Katzenellnbogen around 1420. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard imitating the traditional wine woven wooden can is called Welcome In Romania it is called vin fiert ("boiled wine"), and can be made using either red or white wine, sometimes adding peppercorn.
In Moldova the izvar is made from red wine with black pepper and honey.
In Italy, mulled wine is typical in the northern part of the country and is called vin brulè.
In Latvia it is called karstvīns ("hot wine"). When out of wine, it is prepared using grape (or currant) juice and Riga Black Balsam.
Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries (sometimes misspelled as glog or glug); in (Swedish and Icelandic: Glögg, Norwegian and Danish: Gløgg, Finnish and Estonian: Glögi). Non-alcoholic glögg can be bought ready-made or prepared with fruit juices instead of wine. The main classic ingredients are (usually) red wine, sugar or syrup, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy. In Sweden, glögg spice extract can be purchased at the chemist. To prepare glögg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into the wine, which is then heated to 60°-70° Celsius (140°-158° Fahrenheit). The temperature should not be allowed to rise above 78.4° Celsius (173.12° Fahrenheit) in order to avoid evaporation of the alcohol. When preparing home-made glögg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. In Sweden ready-made wine glögg is normally sold ready to heat and serve and not in concentrate or extract form. Glögg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and gingerbread, and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.
All over Scandinavia 'glögg parties' are often held during the month before Christmas]. In Sweden, ginger bread and lussebullar (also called lussekatter), a type of sweet bun with saffron and raisins, are typically served. It is also traditionally served at Julbord, the Christmas buffet. In Denmark, gløgg parties or Julefrokoster typically include aebleskiver sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with strawberry marmalade. In Norway gløgg parties with gløgg and rice pudding (Norwegian: risengrynsgraut (nynorsk)/ risengrynsgrøt (bokmal)) are common. In such cases the word graut-/grøtfest is more precise, taking the name from the rice pudding which is served as a course. Typically, the gløgg is drunk before eating the rice pudding, which is often served with cold, red codial (saus).
Glögg recipes vary widely; variations with white wine or sweet wines such as madeira, or spirits such as brandy are also popular. Glögg can also be made alcohol-free by replacing the wine with fruit or berry juices (often blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg for a few minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Glögg is very similar in taste to modern Wassail or mulled cider.
English mulled wineIf there is such a thing as "traditional English" mulled wine, then an authoritative recipe might be found in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869:
1961.-TO MULL WINE.
INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.
Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.
Hot Mulled Wine (Glühwein, "glow wine")
Ingredients (serves 2-3 persons)
1 bottle of dry red wine (750 ml)
2 sticks of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of sugar
some cardamom (or ginger)
Directions: Heat the red wine in a pot (don't boil). Cut the lemon into slices and add to the wine. Then add the cinnamon, cloves, sugar and a little cardamom (to taste). Heat everything for about 5 minutes - do not boil - and let stand for about an hour. Before serving, reheat and strain. Serve in prewarmed glasses or mugs.