A warm cup of spicy boozy goodness makes winter better.
Director of ReWines Marshall Waters has been in charge of mulled wine at the Queen Vic Winter Night Market in Melbourne for five years, and has mastered the ways of the hot beverage. He shares his secrets with us.
Broadsheet: How did this recipe come about?
Marshall Waters: The technique of using a syrup evolved because it had to. Serving more than 1000 people in one night at the Winter Market meant it was impossible to make it the traditional way. So in came the syrup – with huge success.
BS: How would you describe its flavour?
MW: The taste is complex: unless you know what’s in there, it’s hard to identify the individual ingredients. They all work extremely well together to provide a satisfying spicy middle-eastern taste.
BS: What types of wine should you be using for this recipe?
MW: You’re adding so much extra flavour that you don’t need to use a really expensive wine; it’d be a waste of a good wine if you did. In saying that, the better the wine the better the outcome, so use something of good quality, but affordable.
BS: Any last tips?
MW: Make sure you smash up the spices well because it allows for a better extraction of their flavours; that’s the real trick.
And now, you’re ready to mull.
ReWine’s Mulled Wine Syrup
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole nutmeg
3 stars anise
1 vanilla pod
1 tsp dry chilli
The thinnest-possible peel from the oranges (2–3 shavings, no pith)
500ml blood-orange juice
500g brown sugar
For the syrup: Roughly grind all the spices in a mortar (or roughly chop on a board if you don’t have a mortar).
Add the spices and orange juice to a pot and boil on the stove for 30 minutes.
Add the brown sugar to the mixture and continue to boil for at least another 30 minutes; the mixture will reduce and thicken.
Strain the liquid into a 750ml (approx) jar.
Note: The syrup keeps indefinitely if sealed
To make the mulled wine: Add 100ml of the syrup to a litre (1000ml) of shiraz (don’t use a cabernet sauvignon) in a pot.
Warm on the stove (do not bring to a boil). Mulled wine is best served at temperatures between 40–50°C.