So, it’s less than five days away until Christmas. With all the hustle and bustle the season brings, it’s nice to take a few moments to slow down, kick back, and have a freaking glass of wine! Being that I just turned twenty-one this year, this will be my first Christmas where I can be the bringer of wine to the Christmas dinner. A few years back, my cousin brought one of her foreign exchange student friends who was from somewhere in east Europe (truthfully, I can’t remember for sure) over for the feast. In the midst of open gifts and taking extra slices of pie, my cousin’s friend made the entire family her families recipe for mulled wine. I was speechless. One word: AMAZING. It was indescribably fruity, and herbal, and aromatic from all the mulled spices intermingling with the wine. It was a marriage of pure flavor bliss. Ever since then I wanted to make my own recipe for mulled wine. Thankfully, the good people over at Powell & Mahoney were all for some mulled wine and hooked a guy up with a killer mixer that aided in me making an easy and incredibly tasty batch of slow cooker mulled wine.
What I love about mulled wine is its lack of difficulty. All you do is throw everything into the slow cooker, turn it on high, and leave it! Seriously, it’s that easy! I find making mulled wine in the slow cooker is the way to go. This is a recipe that can feed a crowd (or just yourself if that's the way you roll). When I developed this recipe back during final exams week, it was great to just throw all the ingredients in (with help from my friend Nicci!), close the lid, and carry on; that being wrapping gifts, cleaning your house or apartment for company, or studying for final exams.
For my recipe, I adapted it from Jamie Oliver’s Mulled Wine recipe. Unlike Jamie’s recipe, I put mine in a slow cooker plus I had the addition of the Old Ballycastle Ginger, with its flavors of fennel and ginger, added a spicy fragrance and taste to the wine. Typically, my family holiday gathers are rather small and intimate. We had my family, my mom’s brother and his family, and Grandma Cooley. The nine of us sit around my parent’s sturdy oak dining room table, eat from out plates piled high with food, and exchange stories, laughs, and memories. It’s one of my favorite parts about the holidays. This batch of mulled wine feed my crowd perfectly. During this time of year, when life gets a little crazy, it’s always nice to put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of mulled wine, and enjoy time with family and friends.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
Adapted from the recipe by Jamie Oliver
2 clementines, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup sugar (plus an additional ½ to 1 cup more, depending on your preference on sweetness)
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 whole allspice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 bottles of red wine
½ cup mixer
½ cup brandy
½ cup apple cider
In a large slow cooker (mine is around 7-quarts), add all the ingredients in, stirring to combine. Set the slow cooker to HIGH, cover and cook wine for 1 hour, or until the mixture is heated through and aromatic. Adjust for sweetness before ladling wine through a fine mesh strainer. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cranberries, a clementine wedge, and star anise or a few whole cloves.
Huge thanks to Powell & Mahoney for sponsoring this recipe. Be sure to share your baking creations with the hashtag #TKbakes. And as always, all opinions, ramblings, stories, and recipe/adaptations are my own.