A warming, spiced wine to share with family and friends.
In 2013, I was living in Tel Aviv and my Dad told me he was going to be in Prague on business, so I hopped on a flight and met him there. It was the first week of January, so Christmas markets were still up. Prague is a magical place to begin with, but the Christmas markets add an extra element of charm. Every square in the city had vendors selling treats, and our favorites were garlic sausages and mulled wine. In fact, mulled wine was everywhere, and it was so cheap. I began buying cups as we explored the town just to have something warm to hold. We were told that we got lucky with the weather, but coming from Arizona and Tel Aviv, it still felt freezing to us.
Stepping off of the plane in Prague was the first of many steps that I would take with my beloved Osprey backpack strapped to my back in a foreign place. Living abroad is a weird thing; you have a home base but you don’t really have a home, so at some point, your backpack kind of becomes your home. It’s as strange as it sounds, but pieces of familiarity were vital for me to not become too homesick. Now that I’m home, the flavors and treasures from my travels keep me grounded and remind me of the many lessons I learned as an expat and nomad.
I first made this mulled wine for Thanksgiving, and we had leftovers so I refrigerated it. The next evening, upon tasting the cold mulled wine, I had flavor déjà vu. You know when you smell or taste something and it is so familiar, you could swear you’ve had it before? The cold mulled wine tasted like spiced sangria, a spitting image of the spiced sangria that a popular bar served across the street from my Tel Aviv apartment. Suddenly, it became full circle, sipping cold mulled wine in my parent’s kitchen in Arizona, tasting my travels in a cup.
So now, hot or cold, this mulled wine takes me on an adventure of its own. It’s the perfect thing to serve at a holiday party or get together since it’s so festive, and it’s also great on a quiet night in with a good book or your favorite TV show (so don’t wait till the next holiday party to make some!).
Mulled WinePrint Recipe
- 1 bottle of jammy red wine
- ½ bottle of Trader Joe’s Honey Crisp Apple Cider, or any other apple cider you like
- ½ teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ground cloves, dried ginger; more to taste
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4-6 cardamom pods
- ~8 whole cloves
- One orange, cut into slices and then quartered
- Optional: you can add bourbon, brandy, or sherry
- Optional: you can add ~ ¼ cup of honey to sweeten the mulled wine
Combine all of the ingredients (except for honey and liquor) in a crock pot and set on low at least 1 hour before guests arrive.
Keep an eye on it and don’t let the wine come to a boil – If needed, simply turn the crock pot off for 15 minutes and then set it back on low. If your crock pot has a “warm” setting, you could also use that.
Allow the spices and flavors to mingle for about an hour, and then taste. If needed, add honey and/or additional apple cider to sweeten the mulled wine.
To serve, ladle into thick-walled tumbler glasses or clear mugs. Enjoy with a cinnamon stick and an orange slice, or by itself.
Optional: add a splash of the liquor of your choice
To keep it warm during a party, alternate setting the crock pot to “low” and “off,” or set it on “warm” if you have that option.