There is nothing so warming or festive on a blustery winter day, as a mug of mulled wine. This classic combo gets a festive kick from fresh piney rosemary, and lots of bright citrus. Be sure to look for a good quality brandy to ensure this rich and beautiful drink is it’s very best.
This makes enough for a crowd and is a great hot punch to serve in a crock pot as a serve yourself beverage with garnishes like cranberries, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks and orange bitters on the side. You can also serve it in a pot over a fire if you do a lot of outdoor, cold weather entertaining like we do.
- What wine should you use? Any nice bold red you like. I’ve grown very fond of Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch, both reds from Austria that go beautifully with just about everything, and are usually naturally fermented. While I would go on and on about the importance of drinking naturally fermented wines, I will leave it at encouraging you to do a little research on the wine you drink, where it came from and how it was made.
- To get the most flavor out of the rosemary you need to muddle it to help release the essential oils. Even then if the flavors aren’t pronounced enough, you can add some rosemary essential oil, but taste it after each drop, it’s easy to overdo!
- This works perfectly in a crock pot for serving a crowd. It keeps it at a nice low temperature to help the flavors meld, and makes it easy for self serving.
- 24 sprigs of rosemary, divided
- 4 tsp. Brown sugar
- 2 bottle red wine of your choice
- 1 cup apple brandy
- 1 cup cranberry pomegranate juice cocktail
- 2 apples, cored and sliced into rounds
- 2 oranges, sliced into ⅛ inch slices
- 2 tsp. Mulling spice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2-6 drops of rosemary essential oil (optional)
- Dash of orange bitters (for serving)
- Fresh cranberries for serving (optional)
- Cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot with a heavy bottom, add the brown sugar and 12 of the rosemary sprigs. Use a potato masher, muddler or the broad end of a wooden spoon, gently crush the rosemary into the sugar to help release the oils.
This can all be added to a large crock pot. Heat on high for 1 hour and then drop to low and keep covered for up to 12 hours.
- Add the wine, brandy, juice, cinnamon sticks, apple, and orange slices. Place the mulling spice into a tea infuser and add to the pot.
You can use a cotton tea bag or even a bit of clean cotton cloth tied into a bundle.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then immediately drop down to the lowest heat setting and cover. Let simmer gently. Over very low heat for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to several hours. Taste before serving and add rosemary oil as needed.
- To serve: in a tall glass mug, add a sprig of the reserved rosemary. You can strip the leaves off the bottom. Ladle the mulled wine and add a dash of orange bitters to each mug just before serving.