Mulled wine is a traditional hot, spiced wine made during the sad and cold winter months. It makes you warm, and in large enough quantity, drunk. Jewish Queen of the WASPy Hamptons, Ina Garten, has an absolutely fantastic recipe for mulled wine that calls for a rich Cabernet Sauvignon, ¼ cup of Manuka Honey and the zest of a blood orange.
But what if you don’t want to go shopping or spend a week’s paycheck on bee-food flown in from New Zealand? What if you want to be cozy and dozy and drunk on hot vino pronto? We do, which is why we’ve penned The Lazy Man’s Guide To Mulled Wine. As it turns out, you can make a decent steamy alcohol punch with only the ingredients spoiling in your refrigerator. It may not have Ina’s mazeltov, but it will drown your winter blues.
1. You do not need a rich Cabernet Sauvignon. You don’t even need a Cabernet. (Or a bottle.) Are only restrictions are thus: it has to be red wine, and it has to be wine, not “wine product.” Franzia is absolutely fine, and we can see the bag behind the cereal on top of your refrigerator. Try for one bottle’s worth.
2. Ina recommends you add apple cider. If you have some, great. You know what also works? Iced tea, for a bit of tannin-y goodness. Throw some Lipton bags in a bot of boiling water and use four cups of it in your SHWD (Steaming Hot Wine Drink).
3. Honey is organic and beautiful and golden but sugar is also sweet, so, use that. Brown or raw sugar is best, but white will do.
4. Ina loves cinnamon sticks for both their beauty and delicate scent. We love ground cinnamon because you probably have some from the one-time you made banana bread. Shake about a teaspoon into your wintry mix.
5. Ideally, you would zest and juice one beautiful, sun-kissed orange. Here’s what you actually have: some aging Tropicana and a soft lemon. Splash ¼ cup of OJ in, and zest half the lemon.
6. Good mulled wine has spicy bits, like whole cloves, star anise and bits of nutmeg. Our good-enough-to-imbibe-but-just-barely version makes use of whatever sweet powdered spices you have in the cabinet—think of anything you’d put in pumpkin pie. These are sometimes combined into “allspice” or “pumpkin pie spice,” or for a truly horrifying measure, you could see if the Starbucks down the block has a leftover jug of Pumpkin Spice Syrup.
7. Combine everything in a pot, and simmer for ten minutes, then pour into mugs, learn a couple of wassailing tunes and get all kinds of Wine Soup Drunk.