HYDERABAD: It’s that time of the year when we crave some pipping hot food along with a glass of wine. Speaking of wine, most of us are familiar with the store-bought bottled reds and whites which are available all year round. But, there’s more to the fermented grape drink.
The winter months are also the best time to make your own wine. Mulled wine, which is also known as spiced or flavoured wine, is served hot or warm. This traditional Christmas drink, is a fun DIY that one can try out this season.
We get in touch with experts who share give us a low-down on what exactly mulled wine is and how people should be having it. Spoorthy Kondapaneni, managing director of Liquid Art Bar School, explains us all about how it is made and served in different ways. “Red wine is boiled along with locally available spices and sugar. It is usually had during the winter, especially around Christmas time, across Europe and predominantly in the UK. However, one can’t find much of it these days,” she says.
There is no one recipe for mulled wine, nor are there specific quantities for the ingredients. “It depends on the region and the household, how they want it. Each home has its own recipe -- some use cloves, pepper, star, fennel and resins. Many add in some ginger, cardamom and nutmeg too. One may also add herbs; I’ve seen people use rosemary as well,” explains Spoorthy. Her favourite combination is cinnamon, nutmeg and clove as these give a nice fruity flavour. “I need subtle flavours. It all depends on one’s taste buds,” she says.
India has adopted mulled wine from Europe and the UK; it is one of the predominant drinks of the English people. Mulled wine is made with high alcohol content wine. Some brew the spices in water, to which they add sugar, wine and some juices. The Polish use vodka. “But, the alcohol content has to be at least 7 per cent and can go up to 15-20 per cent,” she says.
Rashmi Ranjan Sahu, a mixologist at Novotel Hyderabad Airport, says, “Mulled wine goes very well with the traditional Christmas cake. Back in the day, the Romans would carry barrels of wine. As the wine had to preserved for longer durations, they started making mulled wine. Also, this has a variety of flavours.”
However, some may not agree with the concept of mulled wine. According to Suryaveer Singh, the founder of Hyderabad Wine Society, this is not the way one has to have wine.
“The flavour changes and you don’t get to experience the real taste of wine. The minute you boil and wait for the spices to mix, the wine starts to lose its taste. Instead, you could have a bottle of red wine which would suit the season and your taste buds,” he says.
Make your wine
Here are some recipes for mulled wine and wine cocktails you should totally try out this winter
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 2oz of brandy
- 2oz of orange juice
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 nutmegs split into pieces
- 12 cloves
- ½ cup of sugar
- Orange zest peel
● Use a cheesecloth to combine the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a pouch
● Pour the wine, brandy, orange juice and sugar into a metal pot and heat until warm
● Add the spices and continue to warm slowly for 30 minutes, but do not let the wine boil
● Let it cool
● When ready to serve, garnish with orange zest peel
- 3 oz chilled sparkling white wine
- 3 oz pulp-free orange juice
- Orange slice for garnish
● Fill a champagne flute with wine and top it with orange juice. Garnish with a slice of orange
- 2 bottles of chilled red wine
- 1 cup brandy
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 oranges cut into slices
- 3 lemons cut into slices
- 3 limes cut into slices
- 2 peaches cut into slices
- 1 pint of strawberries cut into slices
- 1 cup of club soda
Mix the wine, brandy, sugar and fruits in a large pitcher
Pour into glasses over ice and top it with club soda
(Rashmi Ranjan Sahu, mixologist at Novotel Hyderabad Airport)
This winter, stock up your spice cabinet as it’s time to make some mulled wine. Also known as spiced or flavoured wine, this beverage is served warm. Read on to know how it’s made and why it’s a classic