Festive Mixology: The Santa Baby!

Picture this: Cozied up fireside with some of your favorite people sipping on this Holiday fave. The story of mulled wine is one to share with your guests. The word mulled simply means heated and spiced. Many liquids can be mulled - mead, cider, and of course wine. Mulled wine is a traditional favorite in cooler locations, and goes well with the various celebrations that come around the end of the year.

Mulled wines have a long history. In medieval times these wines were called Ypocras or Hipocris, named after the physician Hippocrates. They were thought to be very healthy, and indeed, with wine at the time being far more sanitary than water, these heated drinks probably did keep people healthy through the cold winters.

Moving forward to the 1500s, cookbooks listed methods of mulling Clarrey, or Bordeaux. Recipes involved honey, cinnamon, cardamon, galingale and of course French wine. Mulled wine was a favorite in Victorian England, and Negus - a type of mulled wine - was even served to children at their birthday parties. Today, mulled wine is a staple at many holiday parties! There are different styles in every part of the world - some favor using white wine, others red. Some add in only a few spices, while others pour in oranges, cloves, twelve spices and more fruit for color! Your mulled drink is limited only by your own imagination!


20 whole cloves
2 tangerines, clementines, or oranges
2 750-ml bottles Merlot
3 cups fresh apple cider
8 Lady apples
2 cinnamon sticks plus 8 for garnish
2 green cardamom pods, cracked
2 cups tawny Port


Press stem (pointed) end of 10 cloves into each tangerine, piercing through the skin. Place tangerines, wine, cider, Lady apples (if using), 2 cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods in a large pot. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat; cook gently for 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Mulled wine can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently over medium-low heat before continuing. Stir in Port. Divide among glasses; garnish each with a cinnamon stick and a Lady apple!