There are dozens of styles of this hot, spiced wine—the spices can vary, fruit may or may not be used, and it may be spirited or not. For an almost alcohol-free mulled wine, simply boil the mixture for at least 10 minutes so most of the alcohol bums off.
Yield: Makes about fourteen 6-ounce servings
2 (750-ml) bottles dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Burgundy, etc.)
½ cup packed brown sugar
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Peel of 1 large orange, cut into long strips
Peel of 1 large lemon, cut into long strips
16 oz. (1 pint; 2 cups) ruby port
16 oz. (1 pint; 2 cups) brandy (see Note)
Combine all ingredients except port and brandy in a large pot (not aluminum); bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add port and brandy; heat just until steaming (don’t boil). Pour into large, heatproof bowl. Ladle into mugs or heatproof punch cups, adding a few spices and citrus strips to each serving. Strain leftover mulled wine, tightly seal, and store in a cool place for at least 6 months.
Mulled Cider: Substitute 2½ quarts (10 cups) apple cider for the wine; omit port. If desired, substitute 1/3 cup honey for the brown sugar.
To make mulled wine ahead of time and reheat for individual servings, don’t add the brandy. When ready to serve, heat a cup of the mulled wine until very hot, pour into mug or cup, then add 1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) brandy.