Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Guest Blogger: The Barfly on Mulled Wine

Over the Christmas and New Year period we welcome six guest posts from cocktail columnist, London bar reviewer & blogger The Barfly. His festive series begins – where else? – with Mulled Wine…

Mulled Wine

Aaaah… Christmas at Barfly Mansion. Roast nuts chesting on an open fire and all that. 

And, of course, Mulled Wine. 

Mulled Wine stretches back into the history of this great land when in mediaeval timeszzzzzzzzzzzzz(wake me up for the Queen’s Speech, will you?)zzzzzzzzzzz.

Before we get all Simon Schama, here, let’s cut to the chase. The verb to mull is of unknown 17th Century origin and means to heat – wine or beer  – with added sugar, spices, etc. And this is how I do it. 

This recipe is, like all the best Mulled Wines, a rough guide and can adjusted according to taste. It serves 12, so do your own math (as our American cousins so short of an "s" like to say) for your own party.

My secret ingredient is… water.


Yup, you read that right: Adam's wine, H2O, plain old water – in exact matching quantities to the wine.

Sacrilege? Not at all. As you peruse the ingredients you will see my cunning method of tipping the balance back to the fun side with the addition of a few liqueurs…

You will need…

2 x bottles red wine

2 x wine bottles full of water

1 orange stuck with cloves

2 oranges, sliced

2 lemons, sliced

6 heaped tablespoons granulated sugar

2 inch (5 cm) piece cinnamon stick

2 level teaspoons finely grated fresh root ginger or ground ginger

1 shot cherry brandy

1 shot apricot brandy

2 shots Triple Sec or Cointreau


Heat the lot in a big ol’ pot. The house will smell delicious.

Barfly’s Mulled Wine Tips:

• Don’t raid the cellar for the wine. Any inexpensive wine will do, but make sure it’s full bodied. A big, chewy Cabernet Sauvignon is ideal.

• Don’t boil the wine. Not ever.

• Hey kids, it’s burny hot. If you don’t have those glasses with the metal holders, put a teaspoon in the glass as the spoon will have a higher coefficient than the glass and then the glass won’t shatter when you pour and nobody’ll end up in A&E, capito? Alternatively, there is no etiquette to suggest it shouldn’t be doled out in big, warming mugs.

• Some folks like to garnish their Mulled Wine with candy canes. The Barfly is not “some folks”.

• Some recipes suggest baking the cloved oranges, adding fruit syrups (huh?) and all manner of shennaigans. I use the above recipe because it’s not only the best, but also the least fussy. Then there’s more time to party. Simple, really.

Next time… Eggnog

Christmas 2015 With London Walks

The Amazing Old Shops Walk takes place on the 19th December – meet Judy at Green Park Station at 10:45a.m

The Christmas Lights & Seasonal Cheer Pub Walk takes place on the 19th December meet at Embankment Tube 7:15p.m

On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks:

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square

Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm

 On Tuesdays our blog posts support the charity Missing People

Thousands of people in the UK are searching for a missing loved one. Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears.

 Support Missing People at www.missingpeople.org.uk    

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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