There are dozens of styles of this hot, spiced wine—the spices can vary, fruit may or may not be used, and it may be spirited or not. For an almost alcohol-free mulled wine, simply boil the mixture for at least 10 minutes so most of the alcohol bums off.
- 2 (750-ml) bottles dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Burgundy, etc.)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 12 whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Peel of 1 large orange, cut into long strips
- Peel of 1 large lemon, cut into long strips
- 16 oz. (1 pint; 2 cups) ruby port
- 16 oz. (1 pint; 2 cups) brandy (see Note)
Combine all ingredients except port and brandy in a large pot (not aluminum); bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add port and brandy; heat just until steaming (don’t boil). Pour into large, heatproof bowl. Ladle into mugs or heatproof punch cups, adding a few spices and citrus strips to each serving. Strain leftover mulled wine, tightly seal, and store in a cool place for at least 6 months.
Mulled Cider: Substitute 2½ quarts (10 cups) apple cider for the wine; omit port. If desired, substitute 1/3 cup honey for the brown sugar.