First invented by the Romans, as evidenced in antiquity through an early recipe written by Marcus Gavius Apicius, Vin Brulé (mulled wine) has been enjoyed as a staple of Italian cuisine for hundreds of years. Whilst the form that it takes has undergone significant evolution to become the drink which we love today, it is heartening to know that Vin Brulé is steeped in historic tradition. First served to guests after a banquet or feast, this warm, sweetened wine has always been infused with an aromatic array of spices, a trait shared with many other versions of this beverage served across Europe at Yuletide.
Be transported to the streets of Bologna, tastefully bedecked in glowing lights, and lined on both sides with bustling market stalls; the divine scent of cinnamon and cloves hangs heavy in the air, emanating from a gigantic cauldron filled with warm, crimson wine, the occasional slice of orange basking lazily on the surface. Whilst this year the thought of a busy Christmas market selling home-brewed mulled wine may seem further from reality that we'd like, with our authentic Vin Brulé recipe you can recreate this well-loved winter warmer in the comfort of your own home. Serving up this treat to your family and friends will provide the perfect dose of festive cheer, and this recipe is the ideal remedy to an al fresco winter soirée, keeping your guests nice and toasty as they huddle around the caminetto, or fireplace.
Our Warming Vin Brulé RecipeServes 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 355 kcal
- 1 bottle red wine (a full-bodied wine like Barolo would work well)
- 200g sugar (or honey)
- 1 orange, zest and juice (use a peeler to remove strips of the zest and then juice)
- 1 lemon, zest (prepared as above)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves, whole
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 star anise, whole
- ½ vanilla pod
- 10 allspice berries
- 5 black peppercorns, whole
- 1 bay leaf
- Extra orange slices and/ or cinnamon sticks to garnish
- Heat the sugar or honey in a large thick-based saucepan or stock pot with the orange juice, citrus zest and all of the spices until a thick syrup has formed (this should take about 5 minutes, be careful not to burn the spices).
- Reduce the heat and add the red wine, bring the pan to a low simmer and leave for about 15 minutes for the liquid to absorb all of the flavours (do not let the wine reach a vigorous boil or the taste will be ruined).
- Ladle the Vin Brulé through a strainer into your mugs and garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks (or both) to serve.
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