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December brings with it much joy. The anticipation of the festivities, the wait for the tree to light up, the decoration, families reuniting, love, laughter and all things nice. And in such an atmosphere, almost everyone agrees a glass of wine is a must. Families gather around the trees in the living rooms and enjoy their shares of storytelling, catching up, slices of grandma’s homemade cake and of course that all precious glass of wine that waited months to be opened during Christmas time.
If the above scenario sounds familiar to you and you can hardly wait for the scene to unfold in your house around Christmas time as well, you can perhaps do just a little more this year round to make the memories even more special. What you ask? Well, let’s start with spicing up the wine!
Yes, you read that right! Wine can indeed be spiced up and Mulled Wine, one of the most famous Christmas drinks of Eastern Europe, is desperately trying to make a debut into your household this December. So why not give it a try?
What exactly is mulled wine?
Mulled wine is a concoction made with red wine and certain spices, namely the Indian garam masala. So all you have to do is take some red wine, some nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and a few pods of vanilla, some orange zest and a bit of honey and give it all a nice boil in a large saucepan. After it simmers for about half an hour, you can cool it and pour it into jars and later serve to your friends and family.
The history of mulled wine
Mulled wine has been around since the 14th Century, but it only became popular worldwide after it was mentioned by Charles Dickens in his classic, ‘The Christmas Carol’. Ever since, the drink has become a favorite Christmas delicacy consumed by revelers, families and friends enjoying the yuletide spirit together. The word ‘mulled’ originally referred to the confusion that alcohol created.
The popularity of mulled wine in Europe
The people of Europe seem to be particularly fond of mulled wine. A reason for this is the chilly climes of the region, especially around the time of Christmas. Since the spiced wine is a warm drink, people consume it in huge quantities around this time of the year. The drink is available everywhere – in bars, in restaurants and even in specially set up road-side cafes and carts.
Making and serving your very own mulled wine
If you are planning for some special Christmas treats this year, make sure you include mulled wine in the list. As we saw, making mulled wine is very simple. It is also a very good option to exercise if you have lots of leftover wine and fear they’ll go bad. Prepare the wine beforehand and store it in Christmas themed jars and bottles and enthrall your guests with the visual as well as sensual appeal of the humble drink.
Adding an Indian ‘tadka’ to mulled wine
If you want to break away from the regular mulled wine recipe, you can add a little Indian touch to it and make your mulled wine even more sassy! Throw in some cardamom seeds, some aniseed and substitute the honey with some good old gur. Now that would be a truly desi mulled wine, that even the Europeans would not be able to put down!
So now that you know all about the awesomeness of the mulled wine go right ahead and start prepping some for your Christmas parties. Just make sure that you have an open air party or the general weather is really cold when you serve the wine. Else, you may just happen to see your guests sweating buckets in the middle of winter! If you happen to stay in a warmer place, then blast the air-conditioner fully and only then serve the mulled wine. It will stun your guests, give them a pleasant wake up punch and will make sure that no one puts their dancing shoes away! Ho-Ho-Ho!!