Being stuck in your apartment for two days has its perks. I’ve done three loads of laundry, cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, and finally emptied my suitcase … from Christmas (yikes, I know). This blizzard (also known as Winter Storm Jonas, the Snowtastrophe, the Snowmageddon, and the Snowpocalypse) has also given me a lot of time to experiment in my kitchen. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was something involving alcohol. I’ve heard of mulled wine before, but I’ve never had it. Wine + spices + heat … that sounds like my kind of drink! I thought it was about time to jump on the mulled wine train.
There are a ton of recipe variations for mulled wine. I pulled something together based on what I already had in my kitchen. If you don’t have everything listed below, it’s okay. Just work with what you’ve got! You’ll at least need wine though — that much is required. Even white wine will work!
Here’s what I used for my mulled wine:
- A bottle of red wine (I used Trader Joe’s special edition Cherry Blossom — only four bucks!)
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star anise
- Grand Marnier (optional)
- An orange
I buy most of my spices from the “Hispanic foods” aisle of the grocery store. You might be able to find these in the regular spice section of the store, but you’re more likely to find them in the “Hispanic foods” aisle — and at a lower price.
So let’s make this bad boy. In a small pot, add a few star anise, two cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of cloves, and a little bit of grated nutmeg. Lightly toast the spices on medium heat for a couple minutes. The toastiness adds to the flavor, just be sure not to burn them. After grating the nutmeg, I ended up tossing the whole nutmeg in the pot because … why not? Feel free to adjust the quantity of spices you add, omit some, or add something totally different. That’s the fun of something like this! It can taste different every time with just a simple adjustment. And, whatever you do it’s bound to taste great — because it’s wine!
While the spices are toasting, grate about a quarter of the orange to make orange zest. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice of half an orange into the pot. Also, add the orange zest to the pot. If you want your wine to taste juicier go ahead and squeeze the whole orange. I prefer less juice, so I went with half.Pour in half the bottle of red wine (or all of it if you’re up for it!) and about two tablespoons of Grand Marnier. The Grand Marnier is totally optional. I only added it because it’s been sitting on my shelf — lonely and in need of some loving. Next, lower the heat to low and let the wine sit for about 10 minutes.
That’s it! Now pour the mulled wine into a mug and enjoy! If the spices weird you out, you can always put the mulled wine in a strainer to remove the grated and whole pieces. I prefer to keep them in the wine because it looks cool and I feel like it somehow adds to the flavor. Whatever you decide, enjoy!