Mulled wine

Mulled wine

Mulled wine, variations of which are popular around the world, is wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. In the old times, wine often went bad. By adding spices and honey, it could be made drinkable again. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. In Italy, this beverage is typical in the northern part of the country.

Glögg is the Swedish form of mulled wine, similar to Glühwein in German-speaking countries. Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. Almonds and raisins are often added to the Scandinavian version, though not to the German. The oldest Glühwein tankard is documented in the high noble German and first Riesling grower of the world, Count John IV. of Katzenelnbogen around 1420. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard imitating the traditional wine woven wooden can is called Welcome.

In Romania it is called vin fiert ("boiled wine"), and can be made using either red or white wine, sometimes adding peppercorn.
In Moldova the izvar is made from red wine with black pepper and honey.

If orange juice is added, it becomes a form of punch.

Glögg

Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries and Estonia (sometimes misspelled as glog or glug); in (Swedish: Glögg, Norwegian and Danish: Gløgg, Finnish and Estonian: Glögi). Glögg may also be prepared without alcohol. Bottles of ready-made glögg extract are often purchased, containing fruit extract and spices, and mixed into wine and then heated to 60-70 degrees (C). The temperature should not rise above 78.4 degrees Celsius in order to avoid boiling off the alcohol. In Sweden the ready-made glögg is normally not sold in extract form and water is not added. The main ingredients are (usually red) wine, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, sugar or molasses, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy. The mixture is prepared by heating, but it is not allowed to boil in order for the alcohol not to evaporate. Glögg is generally served with raisins, almond slivers, and gingerbread, and is a popular warm drink during the Christmas season.

In Denmark, gløgg is often served during the Christmas season with æbleskiver sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with strawberry marmalade.

Glögg recipes vary widely; from variations with sweet wines such as madeira or spirits such as brandy, they are also very popular. Glögg can also be made alcohol-free by replacing the wine with juices (usually blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg for a few minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Glögg is very similar in taste to modern Wassail or mulled cider.

In Sweden there are often glögg parties in the month before Christmas. Typically, ginger bread and lussebullar (also called lussekatter), a type of sweet bun with saffron and raisins, are served. It is also traditionally served at Julbord, the Christmas buffet.

Other names

Mulled wine is known by many names, most mentioning heating it: in German, Glühwein ("glowing (as in heat, not light) wine"); in French, vin chaud ("hot wine"); in Italian, vin brulé (French for "burnt wine"); in Brazil, Quentão ("big hot"); in Romanian vin fiert ("boiled wine"); in Serbian, Kuvano vino ("boiled wine"); in Polish, Grzane wino ("heated wine") or just Grzaniec ("heat thing"); the Slovak Varené vino ("boiled wine"); in Czech Svařené víno ("boiled wine"), the Slovenian Kuhano vino ("cooked wine"); the Hungarian forralt bor ("boiled wine"); the Russian глинтвейн ("glintwein") and the Chilean Spanish Navegado.

Mrs Beeton's (English) recipe

If there is such thing as "traditional English" mulled wine, then an authoritative recipe might be found in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869:

"1961.-TO MULL WINE.

INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.

Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately clean, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose."

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