With Christmas just around the corner, we're sure your plans for Christmas are well and truly underway. Of course, Christmas is a time to celebrate with friends and family whilst enjoying delicious food and drink and what better way to celebrate this festive time than with a glass of traditional mulled wine.
A firm favourite with many wine drinkers across the country and indeed Europe, December is the perfect time to explore new recipes and enjoy this traditional drink ahead of the Christmas weekend.
For keen wine drinkers and mulled wine fans, we've put together a little guide to five little known facts that you may not know about mulled wine which you may wish to share with your loved ones the next time you are enjoying a tipple.
As purveyors of all things fine wine, this is inevitably a topic quite close to our hearts at Octavian Vaults so read on to get the low down on this seasonal treat.
Almost everybody has heard of mulled wine and many people have tried it, however there are few who know where mulled wine actually comes from.
In fact, mulled wine originated in the 2nd century when the Romans used to heat red wine to keep themselves warm during the cold winter. Over the next century as the Romans began to conquer much of Europe, the popularity of mulled wine started to spread.
It was in the middle ages when the recipe for mulled wine started to adapt and soon spices were added to the mix, thought to help promote health and wellness. More recipes for mulled wine started to develop but it wasn’t until the 1890s when mulled wine became associated with Christmas.
Mulled wine is a traditional warmed wine which nowadays is enjoyed over the festive period. As we now know, the history of mulled wine is long and whilst today there are many recipes which are developed across Europe, the main ingredients never change.
The main ingredients for mulled wine of course are red wine and cinnamon sticks. These two ingredients will be found in all mulled wine recipes and often other mulled wine spices and fruits are added into the mix to enhance the flavour further.
Many popular mulled wine recipes include a bottle of red wine, demerara sugar, a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, an orange and sometimes a dash of sloe gin is also added.
In fact, spices are often added to mulled wine as they preserve the flavour and help to keep the brew fresh, perfect for preparing bottles ahead of Christmas time.
Contrary to the fact that mulled wine is often enjoyed over the festive period, there is a national day celebrating mulled wine and this is usually observed annually on 3rd March.
If like many others you thought that mulled wine should be reserved for Christmas time then National Mulled Wine Day offers up the perfect opportunity for mulled wine fans to warm up this treat before the weather starts to warm.
Many celebrate the day by exploring their own mulled wine recipes although others prefer to stick to the traditional recipe which is enjoyed across Europe every year.
With mulled wine being popular all over Europe, it has come to be known by many names across the countries. In Germany where mulled wine is very popular it has become known as Glühwein. In Italy, it is known as vin brulé and in France, vin chaud meaning warm wine.
No matter what moniker mulled wine comes under, it is always enjoyed with the same ingredients: red wine and cinnamon sticks and each country has its own take on this winter warmer favourite.
Glühwein offers up a white wine alternative for those wine drinkers who prefer a lighter tipple. It goes against the convention of the traditional mulled wine recipe, however can be quite the treat when brewed correctly.
When preparing a white mulled wine always choose a bottle of white which you would be happy to drink when cold. A wine that is dry and fruity is usually a good wine to test for this recipe and this should be added to a pan to simmer along with a thick orange slice, 2 tablespoons of honey, a cinnamon stick, star anise, two cardamom pods, a cube of ginger and 75ml of apple brandy. Warm gently for 20 minutes and enjoy.
So, there you have it, our top five facts about mulled wine. We hope you have enjoyed this latest instalment of the Octavian Vaults blog, why not share with your friends and family over the Christmas period?