Gillian's Larder

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from the Cornish cooking shop.
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Mulled wine

There are dozens of mulled wine recipes. Jamie Oliverís includes a vanilla pod; Deliaís includes honey. All delicious, no doubt. My favourite recipe is simpler—and warms the cockles of your heart.

The powdered ingredients will make the mulled wine cloudy (it always was!). If you want it clear(ish), youíll need a sieve lined with a clean handkerchief to filter the bits out. But then youíll lose the orange and lemon peel, which look great in the glass ...

  • 2 bottles of red wine, preferably one the label says is full of fruit flavours
  • A good sized orange
  • A lemon
  • 150g/5-6oz caster sugar
  • A stick of cinnamon
  • 6 cloves, or a good pinch of ground cloves
  • 6 cardomom pods
  • Half a teaspoonful of freshly grated nutmeg
  • A pinch of ground ginger
  • A splash of brandy

Cut the zest off the orange and the lemon in thin, thumbnail-sized pieces. Put into a saucepan. Squash the cardomoms with a knife blade and drop them in. Squeeze the orange juice into the pan. Add all the other ingredients bar the wine and the brandy.

Pour in just enough wine to cover the other ingredients. Boil for four or five minutes until you have a gorgeous-smelling syrup. Turn down the heat and add the rest of the wine. Heat until the mix is not quite hot enough to scald your finger—no longer, or more of the alcohol will be driven off. Pour into a serving bowl, add the brandy, and serve in warmed cups or glasses. Glow!

• There are no rules about mulled wine. If you donít care for ginger, leave it out. If you donít want to include brandy, donít. Etc, etc!

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I'd love to hear how you get on! You can email me at: gillian@

Good luck!