We ‘mull’ over this much loved hot concoction enjoyed very much in Winter. It has many unique names and styles; Glögg in Sweden, Glühwein in Germany, and Grzaniec Galicyjski in Poland or Coditum Paradoxum in Italy.
Mulled wine is wine heated and infused with sweet spices; like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and fennel. Some recipes add aromatic herbs or pepper for a bit of spice and saffron for its fragrance and colour.
Numerous countries even elevate it with a generous splash of their favourite spirit, add to this citrus fruit, juice or peel, honey or sugar and you will be warmed to the cockles of your heart even on the coldest day.
But did you know…
that White Wine is also used as a base for this delicious hot Winter Warmer.
As usual we like to know where our traditions originate from and we shouldn’t be surprised to find out it started in ancient Greece, then made its way to us via the Romans.
Waste NOT - Want NOT. To salvage the last of the Summer Wine, the Greeks cleverly added honey and spices, heated the wine to preserve it to make it last a while longer. The result was a ‘medicinal’ tonic that they used to ward off winter illnesses. They called the spiced concoction ‘Hippocras’ after the Greek father of medicine himself, Hippocrates.
The ancient Romans put their spin on the Winter warmer ‘Conditum Paradoxum’ a sweet spiced wine featured in the world's first cookbook Apicius. The recipe is still used by some producers today.
“Put six sextarii (1 sextari = 546ml or approx. 1 pint) of honey into a bronze jar containing two sextarii of wine, so that the wine will be boiled off as you cook the honey. Heat this over a slow fire of dry wood, stirring with a wooden rod as it boils. If it boils over, add some cold wine. Take off the heat and allow to cool. When it does cool, light another fire underneath it. Do this a second and a third time and only then remove it from the brazier and skim it. Next, add 4 ounces of pepper, 3 scruples (1 scruple = 1.14g) of mastic (a natural resin), a dragma (approx. 4 grams) of bay leaf and saffron, 5 date stones and then the dates themselves. Finally, add 18 sextarii of light wine. Charcoal will correct any bitter taste.” – Apicius, 1.1
2022 Hawkshead Conditum Paradoxum
- 1 750ml bottle of HAWKSHEAD Pinot Gris
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 fresh dates
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- and a pinch of saffron
- Heat 75 ml of wine, the dates and a cup of honey in a saucepan. Make sure the honey dissolves completely.
- Once the honey-wine mixture is simmering add the remaining ingredients. Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes for the spices time to infuse the wine.
- Strain and cool the mixture, add the remaining wine and serve hot in winter or refreshing cold in summer.
The Romans were responsible for the rapid spread of ‘Mulled’ or ‘Spiced’ wine throughout their empire. They probably needed plenty while battling the Germanic and Anglo-Saxons tribes and uninviting temperatures. They must have also traded some with their opponents. Much later throughout the Middle Ages individual regional adaptations were created to the recipe.
Sweden and Germany have kept the tradition very much alive. Glögg and Glühwein are still a must-have today in the weeks leading up to Christmas and later in the Winter on the snowy Ski slopes.
The 'Southern Hemisphere' approach to Mulled Wine
We enjoy a Summer Christmas so ‘do as the Romans still do’ and serve a chilled mulled / spiced wine Conditum Paradoxum, on a hot day.
The best place to have Mulled Wine in New Zealand is on the Ski field, or later in an Aprė Ski bar to celebrate that awesome day in the snow. But it is best after a miserable cold Winters day at home by the fire.
Like to try some ‘traditional’ Mulled Wine? Here is a guide recipe; feel free to create your own favourite.
- 1 750ml bottle of HAWKSHEAD Rosé
- 1/2 cup clear apple juice
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 orange (peel and juice)
- 1 lemon (peel and juice)
Wrap all the spices in a muslin bag or just add and strain later
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 2 whole star anise or cardamom seeds
- 5 peppercorns
- Peel the orange and the lemon thinly (avoid the white pith it adds a bitter taste to the Wine) and juice the fruit.
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste test and when you have the desired flavour, remove the spices.
- OPTIONAL but worth it! Add a splash of Cointreau and serve with a slice of fresh orange. You will love it!
Your Hawkshead Team