This time a few years ago I was in beautiful Bruges with my new boyfriend of only a few months.
Without really knowing what to expect from this tiny city, I found it to be one of the most beautiful and festive places I have ever visited (and full of bloody great beer, too)!
The picture-perfect architecture in Bruges makes the whole city look just like a scene from a Christmas card, but it’s the smell of luxurious Belgian hot chocolate and hot, sweet mulled wine that sticks with me the most.
A few years on, and I am living with said boyfriend in our own place. Spurred on by the memory of Bruges (and my love for sloshing red wine into my slow cooker) I have been trying a out a few traditional European ‘Glühwein’ recipes, and this one is pretty fail safe – give it a go!
Basic Mulled Wine
- 1 bottle (750ml / 25 oz) bottle dry red wine
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 orange, sliced
- 3 -4 tablespoons sugar
Pour wine into the slow cooker pot on medium setting. Add all ingredients to wine and leave to infuse for half an hour while the house fills with the most festive smell ever.Taste the mulled wine: If it is not spicy enough, you can leave for longer or add a few more of the spices. Depending on the type of wine used, you might want to add extra sugar at this point, too.
Remove all of the floating spices from the wine (but leave the orange slices) and serve in glass mugs with a brown sugar rim. Awesomely, this stuff tastes great reheated the next day – just be sure to remove the spices once it tastes just right to stop the flavours becoming more powerful.
Sloe Gin Mulled Wine
If you want to make your winter tipple a little bit more boozy, you can add a shot of sloe gin to each glass of wine right before serving. Gordon’s sell their own version, but most people (like us) make it themselves using gin, sugar, and foraged sloe berries.
For other mulled winter drinks recipes, including hot buttered whisky, head to the Waitrose Cellar. If you’re really lazy, you can also buy pre-mixed mulled wine for £4.99 a bottle from Waitrose – simply heat and serve!