Winter is just around the corner and so deepens the cravings for warm, spiced beverages that cozy you up from the inside out. The holidays of the season also bring about reasons for celebration, and where there is celebration, there is always wine!
Warm wine served amongst loved ones is a tradition that can be traced back to the Romans in the 2nd century. These wines were mixed with the juices of over fruits, spices, and various herbs to enhance flavors and add additional health benefits to the pot. These practices and particular additions to the drink were known as ‘mulling’ spices. While there have been many branching variations of mulled wine recipes over the centuries, a few elements have always stuck around, for their amazing flavor and health benefits.
Cinnamon and Clove:
Cinnamon and Clove work wonders for reducing inflammation and aiding in digestion. This is due to the high number of antioxidants present in the spices and eugenol, a compound that has local antiseptic properties that can dull pain. In addition, they have also been shown to help manage blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
Hailing from the Chinese Evergreen, Illicium verum, star anise can a touch of whimsy to your mulling drink and has been noted to carry anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory compounds like cinnamon and clove.
Apple Juice or Apple Slices:
Adding apple juice or even just apple slices to your mulled wine is an easy way to sweeten up the flavor and make you liver happy by keeping it squeaky clean with pectin. Apples are also extremely hydrating and contains very low sodium, which can help release excess water build up in the body.
Adding a handful of fresh cranberries to your mulled wine will give it yet another splash of color garnish as well as adding a dash of extra vitamin C, E, K, and manganese. They can also help regulate the good bacteria in your gut with A-Type proanthocyanidins, which are only found on cranberries.
Oranges offer a healthy dosage of vitamin C and will give your mulled wine a nice citrus zing!
Red Wine has long been known to help manage cholesterol, due to its polyphenol antioxidants that protect the lining of blood vessels. It’s other compounds, such as resveratrol and tannic, can also do wonder for your skin health by resorting your collagen levels. It’s AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) can also help clean your pores and prevent future potential breakouts.
While everyone’s tastes are different, making mulled wine is very easy and there are many varying recipes out there, but here is our favorite recipe to start from!
- 1 part (or half bottle) red wine. (A sweet wine such as a merlot or malbec works best)
- 1 part spiced apple cider
- ¼ cup brandy or orange liqueur (optional)
- 1 Orange sliced in rounds
- 1 apple cubed or sliced in rounds
- ½ cup of fresh cranberries
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, ect.)
- Garnishes (extra orange slices, apple cubes, cinnamon sticks, star anise)
Combine Ingredients and Simmer:
Add all ingredients to a medium to large sized pot on medium to high heat. Stir occasionally until it barely reaches a simmer and reduce to low heat. (Be careful not to let it bubble as this will boil off the alcohol.) Cover and let the pot warm for 15 minutes to 3 hours on low heat)
Strain out the solid mulling ingredients with a fine mesh strainer.
Serve warm in your favorite heatproof mug and garnish to your liking!