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Sunday, January 16, 2011


The first time I had delicious hot mulled wine was when I went to the Czech Republic over New Year. Vendors on the streets of Prague were selling it in paper cups. It's a wonderful warming winter drink, and also has a nice festive feel.

Naturally I tried to make it at home. I boiled some cinnamon sticks, sugar, and orange and lemon slices in water, then tossed in a bottle of cheap red wine. Do you know what happens when you heat alcohol? Heady fumes rapidly filled my kitchen as the alcohol evaporated, and set off the alarm of my gas detector! Even with the doors and windows wide open, it took ages for the fumes to clear.

Not wishing to repeat that episode, I wondered if I could just pour the wine into the hot liquid before drinking, just as you add milk to tea or coffee. That worked well. Even a quite small amount of wine seems stronger when it's heated.

Then my lazy streak kicked in. The hot wine I drank in Prague was not spiced, so I wondered whether wine, sugar, and hot water would make a good drink. It does! I also tried heated orange juice laced with red wine (tastes great but looks murky and unappealing) and hot lemon tea with red wine (very nice.) If you really want the spice and citrus flavors, a shake of cloves or cinnamon and a slice of lemon will do the job.

Give it a try - it's delicious!
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