Like a vast majority of popular Christmas tradition, drinking mulled beverages, especially mulled wines is a tradition that the world has borrowed from the Romans. Romans have been credited with creating these hot alcoholic beverages that most of us enjoy during the holiday season with an exception of eggnog of course. However, it wasn’t until around 14th century that mulled beverages got their name derived from muddled. This is because, muddled is a state of confusion and those days this state of confusion was often associated with the inebriated state you achieve after consuming alcohol.
At this point of time, mulled beverages had got their name but had not become a holiday tradition until one Mr. Charles Dickens thought otherwise. These exotic alcoholic beverages featured in many of Dickens’ novels and stories but the drink being featured in his classic “A Christmas Carol” is when the drink officially became a part of Christmas and now we simply cannot refrain from sipping on mulled wine during the holidays. This was followed by the hot beverage being featured in several movies that made sure that we never forgot mulled wine on a holiday.
Making mulled wine
Making your own mulled wine is not something that would require some intense mixology skills. If you know to warm water and cut fruits, you could easily manage preparing your own mulled wine. The most popular choice of alcohols to mix when preparing mulled wine include brandy(180ml) and dry red wine such as Zinfandel (1 bottle). Fortified wines give out the best results. Mix these in a sauce pan and add rounded oranges(1) and lemons (2). You will also need about 100ml of honey and about a teaspoon of fresgly ground nutmeg, about 6 cloves and 3 cinnamon sticks. Once you have added everything into the saucepan, bring the mixture to steam. Make sure that you do not boil it and serve the drink hot.
However, this isn’t the only mulled beverage you will find on the face of the face of the earth. There are plenty of variations that you can try and see which one you like the most.
Coming back to Dickens, while in his books he mentions of mulled wine deriving it from the word muddled the drink most Brits at that point of time associated Dickens’ mulled wine with is the “Wassail”. Many even consider this to be Britain’s traditional mulled beverage. The drink has it’s roots traced back to the South West regions of England and is associated with an old ritual known as wassailing which means drinking for good health. The drink is made using apple cider and is a favorite Christmas tradition in Britain. The recipe for wassail is much like the recipe mentioned above except there is no brandy and instead of Zinfandel you’ll be using Apple cider and if you don’t fancy alcohol, you can use apple juice.
Beer today is known to be a cool beverage that most people enjoy on a warm sunny day. However, there used to be a time when your favorite beer used to be served hot. In fact even today, the mulled beer can be a welcome relief on a cold and chilly day. In fact many believe that this version of beer is quite healthy and an excellent aid for digestion. Mulled beer can contain a variety of ingredients from a generous dollop of honey, cinnamon, cloves and other spices along with raw eggs too. A variation of mulled beer heated with brandy is also available and is called as flip.
If you didn’t get it by the name, this version of mulled wine first originated in Germany. What probably began as a means to enhance the taste of cheap wine quickly became popular for it’s medicinal values. This drink is made from red wine along with a mix of spices, citrus fruits and other sweetening agents. The famed philosopher Hippocrates invented a filtration method for glühwein and this variation is known as Hippocras. If you’re still wondering what on earth does glühwein mean? Then the answer you are looking for would be “Glowing-Wine” and no the wine doesn’t glow the name is associated with the red hot and glowing poker rod that was used to prepare glühwein. There is also another scandinavian version similar to glühwein but called as Glog and pronounced as glug.
Mulled cranberry punch
This is a simple mulled drink which I’m adding here so even those who prefer not to consume alcohol can also take part in the holiday spirit. although this one may look a lot like mulled wine, be assured that it contains cranberry juice, dried cranberries and vanilla which gives a unique falvor to the drink. Rest of the ingredients remain quite same as the other mulled wines such as cinnamon sticks, cloves for the spice, honey for sweetness and sliced oranges for the citrus.
Since we’re already talking about mulled beverages, there is one other popular beverage that is not a traditional favorite but can make a good addition to menu this Chtistmas and that is Irish coffee. While this is not exactly a mulled beverage and doesn’t contain the spices, you can sure pretend you’re Irish and pour yourself a mug of this heady brew. The best part of brewing yourself Irish coffee is that you don’t have to do a lot of work. Simply make a mug full of warm coffee and add a jigger or Irish whiskey to the mix and stir a bit. If you’re into pranks, you could pass it off as regular coffee with a little help from a whipped cream topping.