Nothing says Christmas is in the air for me, more than the sound of Mariah Carey singing ‘ all I want for Christmas’ and the smell and taste of mulled wine or hot mead.
How We Started Selling Mulled Wine
A friend and I love mulled wine so much that we actually run a stall at Winchester Christmas Market over November and December selling mulled wine, hot mead, buttered cranberry punch and mulled local cider. Our stall is called The Original Mead Company and we started off selling hot mead – as we wanted to be different from all the other mulled red wines and gluwhein stalls, but now we also sell mulled read wine
Mead is an alcoholic drink made from fermented honey, water and wild yeast which really came into its own in northern Europe when mead halls were the source of social life. Many a tale of harassing neighbours across the border and the North Sea have been recounted over a goblet of hot mead. In many parts of Europe. Newly married couples were supplied with enough mead for a month to ensure happiness and fertility – hence the word honeymoon came into being! Mead came used to be given to couples on their wedding night as a fertility rite and hence the honeymoon came into use
Over the 15 years we have been selling hot wine, we have come up with a winning recipe – which I am happy to share as it seems such a shame to spend money on buying ready made mulled in a bottle which will end up costing you more and won’t taste half or smell as good as homemade.
Recipe for mulled wine – serves four
1 750ml bottle of OK red wine – not the cheapest, but neither the most expensive
1 litre carton orange juice
Sugar to taste
Muslin square with a big tbsp of cloves, ginger and cinnamon tied up together with a string
Heat all the ingredients, once hot, add the spice bag and simmer for at least 30 minutes and serve. Don’t allow to boil. You can garnish with a slice of fresh orange.
Use Disarrono to take your mulled wine to next level
Obviously this is delicious but you can add a shot of Disarrono – which is a type of amaretto—an amber-coloured liqueur with a characteristic almond taste, although it does not actually contain almonds. It is produced in Saronno, in the Lombardy region. According to the company, the 28%vol liqueur is an infusion of apricot kernel oil with “absolute alcohol, burnt sugar, and the pure essence of seventeen selected herbs and fruits”. The liqueur is sold in an oblong glass decanter designed by a craftsman from Murano, near Venice
The product was called Amaretto di Saronno (Amaretto from Saronno) – and there is a nice story about Saronno. In 1525, a Saronno church commissioned artist Bernardino Luini, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s pupils, to paint its sanctuary with frescoes. As the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Luini needed to depict the Madonna, but was in need of a model. He found his inspiration in a young widowed innkeeper. As a gift for him, the woman steeped apricot kernels in brandy, producing the first amaretto liqueur.
Enjoyed by many at Christmas Markets in the UK and beyond.
The Winchester Christmas Market which takes place in the inner court of Winchester Cathedral runs up to Thursday December 23 to 6pm from 10am – 6/8pm
The Edinburgh Christmas Market which is on the southside of Princes St in the Gardens runs until January 3 2023 10am – 10 pm