Mull Your Way through Winter with the Co-op!

Mulled Wine
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As the days grow shorter and cooler, iced tea, lemonade and that cold, post-yardwork beer begin to lose their appeal. In my household, Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of mulling season. I look forward to the smell of mulling wine or cider when I come back from my Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, and again throughout the season after an afternoon of shoveling snow, skiing, or as the centerpiece of a cozy winter gathering. In addition to tingling the senses, mulled wine or cider is easy to make and allows for some culinary creativity. Collect a few ingredients, toss them in a slow cooker, and impress your guests. What could be better?

Instead of buying a packet of mulling spices, I make a quick (and inexpensive) visit to the Co-op and I’m set for a whole season of warm spiced beverages. The Co-op really is the perfect place for buying your mulling spices – where else can you buy just two star anise or cinnamon sticks? I much prefer knowing I’m getting fresh ingredients instead of something that has been sitting in my pantry for a year or more.

I have created a basic recipe that I enjoy, which is included here, but I’m always tweaking the ingredients or trying something new. Feel free to incorporate some of the suggestions at the end and make it your own!

Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine (I prefer something rich and fruity, but inexpensive. Merlot and Zinfandel work well, and a good quality boxed wine like Bota Box or Black Box is a good bet.)
1 orange, sliced thin
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
2 star anise
2 cups water, apple cider, or brewed tea (ginger, vanilla, or chai teas are best)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup rum, brandy, or Cointreau (optional)

Toss everything into a crockpot on low for at least 4 hours and then enjoy! Strain the spices and fruit from the wine before serving and return to the crockpot on low – or simply ladle straight from the crockpot.

Make it your own:

  • For a non-alcoholic treat, replace the wine with 4-4 ½ cups of apple cider
  • For an alternative adult beverage, replace the wine with 4-4 ½ cups hard apple cider (Nine Pin’s ginger cider is a great option) or mead for a crisper, fall-like drink
  • Instead of an orange, add sliced lemon, lime, apple, or another one of your favorite fruits
  • Add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger or candied ginger, 2 cardamom pods, 4-6 allspice berries, 4-6 black peppercorns, ¼ cup raisins, grated nutmeg, or any other goodies from the bulk department that strike your fancy

Jennifer Betsworth found the Co-op in her quest for a good bulk department soon after moving to Troy in 2013, and became a member not long after that. She enjoys working in and being continually inspired by the bulk department’s offerings. A lover of words, old buildings and beautiful natural places, she relies on the Co-op, her garden, and a little culinary creativity to fuel her adventures.