I’m officially cold. We’ve reached that well-known point in the British calendar where getting dressed in the morning becomes an impossible task. Too many layers result in leaving the tube looking like you’ve rolled out of a sauna, too few layers means that by the time you’ve made it off the tube and the short walk to work you look like a smurf, fashioning a trendy blue glow. This coupled with the fact that I am slowly having to face up to the fact that it’s nearly Christmas, queue lairy lights, glitter-covered animals and ludicrously late shop opening hours (we all need to be able to buy a bath bomb at 11pm on a Wednesday?!). I am not a happy camper.
So, as in most times of need, I have turned to food and drink for a friendly face. Everything that passes my lips must now be dual purpose; to be both tasty and warming. The epitome of which is mulled wine…hot Ribena for grown ups. Over the years I have witnessed things that more closely resemble cough syrup or a melted fruit rollup than mulled wine, drinks that slide suspiciously round the bottom of a gimmicky goblet like an extra from Ghostbusters. So I challenged the chefs at Tate by launching a competition to create something that doesn’t violate the good name of wine.
Although we did receive a number of entries that called into question the title of mulled wine, and would have been more suited to the name simmered spirits, we have selected a winner that elevates mulled wine from the realms of enforced carol services and bad Christmas markets, to something that you would actually want to drink.
As a reward for walking the winter weather gauntlet, I gift to you the winning recipe.
1 cinnamon stick
3 bottles of medium red wine
Take 4 oranges and 1 lemon, zest the fruit making sure no white pith is removed. Then juice the fruit and set aside the juice. In a shallow pan on a low heat put 500ml water and 500 grams of sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the zest of the fruit along with 1 cinnamon stick broken up, 5 cloves, 10 cardamoms crushed but not powdered. Reduce by half on a low heat so simmering for about 30min. Add the juice from the fruit and stir into the sugar solution. Then take 3 bottles of fruity medium weight red wine and add 100ml port and 100ml brandy. Add into a pan and bring up to the boil. Then bring down to a slow simmer and add the sugar and spice liquid. Leave simmering for 20 minutes before serving.
Then sit back and enjoy… . cue contented warm face.