When it's completely frigid outside, nothing is more inviting to guests than entering a heated home filled with the scent of mulled wine. Possibly easier to pull together than any punch, mulled wine consists of apple cider, spices, red wine, orange peel and juice, and . . . this particular recipe calls for a secret ingredient.
Vanilla paste, or vanilla beans infused in a thick, sugary syrup, is a crucial ingredient to this recipe. It brings the flavors of the mulled wine together, rounds out any harshness from the wine and the spices, and adds beautiful black specks to the brew. It's easily found at Williams-Sonoma, but if you can't find it, I've included a few substitutions in the recipe below.
I recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe, so guests can have seconds and thirds. Mulled wine soothes sore throats, warms even the chilliest-to-the-bone, and tastes delectably seasonal (without the sugary overload).
If you can't find vanilla paste, substitute with 1 vanilla bean pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract) and sugar to taste.
- 1 bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups spiced apple cider
1 orange, peel and juice
2 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
4 whole star anise
1 tablespoon vanilla paste, such as Nielsen-Massey
- In a medium-sized pot, combine all ingredients. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes before serving.
- Drinks, Hot Drinks
- Serves 6