Published November 1, 2002.
To bring mulled wine into balance, use a modest amount of sugar, toast the spices, and simmer (don't boil) for a full hour.
The reality of this drink is reminiscent of cough syrup--sickeningly sweet and overspiced, with a strong taste of alcohol. Other recipes produce a bitter, pithy brew that even additional sugar can't remedy.
We wanted a warm, not-too-sweet wine with a mild alcohol kick. The drink should have deep but not overwhelming spice notes and some fruitiness.
For full, round flavors, choose a careful balance of cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, and allspice berries, then toast the spices to unlock their full potential. Add a medium- to full-bodied red wine that you enjoy drinking, plus a modest amount of sugar. Simmer the wine for a full hour to ensure a full-flavored drink that doesn't taste raw. Before serving, stir in a couple of spoonfuls of brandy for a fresh, boozy kick.list of recipes