So true to the recipe I am that my recipe card even says 'Perfect Mulled Wine', as it was titled. We made it twice last weekend, and as usual, our friends raved (and drank it all).
Even better, it can be made for about £8 a bottle. The initial investment of spices will set you back a bit, but they'll almost definitely last through more than one season. Even the ginger wine isn't expensive - our £10 bottle will get us through about 10 bottles of wine. And the wine, the wine! The cheaper and fruitier the better. So don't let yourself spend more than £6 on a bottle, and if you can do it for less, you should.
The original Guardian article, which you can see here, chronicles various types of mulled wine, and the fabulous writer, Felicity Cloake, made them all. From them, she created the recipe that ends her article, and begins every wintertime gathering in my house.
So without further ado, her recipe, first published in The Guardian on 9 December, 2010. Yes, in fact, you do want to make it tonight.
Perfect mulled wine
Makes about 12 servings
2 unwaxed oranges
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
150ml ginger wine
1. Peel and juice 1 orange, and add to a large saucepan along with the lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until you have a thick syrup.
2. Meanwhile, if you're serving the mulled wine immediately, stud the second orange with 6 vertical lines of cloves, and then cut into segments to use as a garnish.
3. Turn the heat down, and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan, along with the ginger wine. Gently heat through and serve with the orange segments as a garnish. Alternatively, you can allow the syrup to cool, and pour it into sterilised bottles for use at a later date.