Mulled drinks

The first thing that might come to mind when thinking of mulled wine, is a vat of spiced wine on someone’s stove top, where everyone part of the dinner party brings the cheapest red and dumps it into the pot for everyone to have near infinite merriment.

Being the person who usually brings the best eggnog you’ve ever had, I decided to try my hand at mulled wine. Something different for a change.

In my internet sleuthing, I came across this article by the BBC, which gave me heaps of inspiration to try out some new drinks! Not just red wine, but mulled white wine, and mulled cider (alcoholic or non, your choice).

I will give the recipes and save most of the pictures for below the text. My partner and I taste tested each of them. Keep in mind that these recipes can be double/tripled/etc. I made small batches to test out the flavours and ratios. All recipes were heated on low for 15 minutes, and I put all the spices in a muslin bag. The BBC website said to let it all sit for 30 minutes after heating – I did do that but I found that letting it sit overnight gave the best results.

Mulled White Wine

  • 1 bwhitewineottle (750 mL) of white wine (I used the cheapest Viognier I could find!)
  • 1 baby lemon (or half a regular sized lemon)
  • half a bartlett pear
  • half a regular orange
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary (pictures below)
  • 3 tiny sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp bitter orange peel
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup elderflower cordial

Mulled Cider

  • 2 cans of Magnmagnerscidersers Cider (500 mL each can; 1 apple cider and 1 pear cider)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 Pink Lady apple
  • 12 cranberries
  • 2 baby lemons
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole nutmeg seeds
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 12 whole allspice seeds
  • 1 tsp bitter orange peel
  • 8 dried juniper berries
  • small pieces of ginger root
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup honey

 

redwineMulled Red Wine

  • 1 bottle (750 mL) of red wine (I used the cheapest Merlot I could find!)
  • 1/2 red delicious apple
  • 1/2 orange
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole nutmeg seeds
  • 12 whole allspice seeds
  • 1/2 tsp bitter orange peel
  • 12 dried juniper berries
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise seed
  • 12 cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup honey

After all was said and done, we liked the mulled cider the best and will be making that for Christmas dinner! We also quite liked the mulled white, and found the mulled red to taste a bit like a winter sangria. Which was not bad, but it wasn’t as good as the other two. We also felt the cider would match more of the dishes we were serving with dinner (beer slow cooked ham, tourtiere, ginger roasted carrots, and gingerbread cookies).

Also, since this cider was 5% and most wines are 14%, this won’t get you nearly as smashed, even with the added brandy. Unless of course, you double the brandy concentration. ;) The cider overall tasted fresher. You could use any cider you want, but I recommend using a drier cider, since you are adding sugar to it.

Upcoming Holiday posts

Well well. I’m surprised I had site visitors since I haven’t written anything since August 2015, but I guess the thirst for alcohol knowledge exists whether I am up-to-date or not. Cheers!

A couple of upcoming holiday posts which I plan to make:

top of box

1) My partner and I split the cost of the Phillips Snowcase Calendar. This is a magical advent calendar for adults. No more teeny little chocolates, you get a new beer to try every day! Not only that, but a lot of the beers in the pack were brewed for the advent calendar only.

20151128_200723To follow along with the beer advent mayhem, you can follow me on my Untappd account, where I will be giving my detailed day-by-day reviews. At the end of the 24 days, I will provide an overall review post here, linking to the Untappd posts and reflections of the experience. That way, you can follow along live, or you can get the summary and read further only to the beers you wanted to know more about.

2) Last year, I talked all about my favourite holiday egg nog recipe. This year, I will conduct some mulling experiments. Yes, mulled wine, but many types of mulled wine, cider, and even some white wine! I mulling-spiceswill use this article as my resource  and then compare my concoctions side by side.

In addition to including my personal opinion, I will host a small tasting party so that at least 4 people can weigh in on the comparison. I plan to use at least 3 different red wines, 1 white wine, and 1 to 2 ciders. Yes, cider did grow on me after all!

Best Eggnog You’ve Ever Had!

Some people tell me that they hate eggnog. I believe some of them, but when I probe further, what they tell me is that they hate store bought eggnog. Well now, that’s an unfair marker for a product isn’t it? When was the last time you said store bought bread was better than the bread made fresh the day-of from your local bakery? Exactly. You need to try this eggnog. I have never had someone dislike it, ever. And I’ve been making it for over 5 years, every Christmas holiday season.

The first time I had eggnog, my father gave me a recipe. I was entirely too young to write it down or even think about trying to remember how to make it, but there was some concoction we made where we only got a single serving out of it. I remember thinking it was the yummiest thing ever (sans alcohol of course) and made it every year, for a little while. I must have been a teenager when I found out it was pre-made to purchase in a store, but like all teenagers, I was obsessed with things that were easy and cared little for difference in quality compared to convenience. Now being the food and alcohol enthusiast I am, I cannot bear to drink “store nog” and always opt to make it homemade, with love (and a lot of booze!)

I will admit, this is not at all my recipe. However, I have made different modifications over the years and can recommend some variations that work very well. The link for the recipe is here, but I will paste in the recipe with my suggested changes in parentheses. One note, the milk suggestions are based on what I’ve done and served and has been absolutely yummy. If you don’t like dairy milk or soy milk, use whichever milk you prefer. I just used Silk because they make a soy creamer. If you can make or can find an almond/rice/coconut/etc cream that would substitute in well, then go for it. I only recommend keeping to the same type of milk and cream and brand, if possible. (e.g. mixing soy cream with rice milk sounds horrid to me) The non-dairy cream won’t whip up the same as dairy whipping cream does but you can just add it in at the end and the consistency is still smooth and yummy.

BEST EGGNOG RECIPE

You will need:

  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ground Nutmeg (if you can grind this fresh, damn you are fancy!)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Milk (if you have milk troubles, I recommend Silk Soy milk)
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream (if you have milk troubles, I recommend Silk soy creamer)
  • 1/2 cup Light Rum (I recommend Appleton’s – I like it so much that often I didn’t even bother using half rum/half bourbon and just poured in a cup of rum – zero people complained)
  • 6 Egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon Whiskey (I recommend Wild Turkey 81 or if you like it sweet, the Jack Daniels Honey Liqueur was AMAZING)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar

How to make it:
1) In a small mixer bowl beat egg yolks using electric beaters on a low speed until blended (keep the whites, you’ll need them for step 3). Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed till thick and lemon colored.

2) Stir in milk, stir in rum, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Chill thoroughly. Whip cream. Wash beaters well.

3) In a large mixer bowl beat egg whites till soft peaks form.

4) Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating to stiff peaks. Fold yolk mixture and whipped cream into egg whites. Serve immediately.

5) Sprinkle nutmeg over each serving. Serve in a punch bowl or another big bowl.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.

DID YOU NOTICE THAT THE RATIO IS 3 CUPS OF DAIRY TO 1 CUP HARD ALCOHOL? YOUR GUESTS WILL LOVE YOU AND NO ONE FORGETS THE EGGNOG!! IMPRESS FAMILY MEMBERS YOU BARELY KNOW AND FALL ASLEEP AT 8PM!!!!!