Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The alchemy of the perfect mulled wine... fresh ginger is key

Okay, I spent yesterday with my alchemists hat on trying to devine the most kick ass mulled wine possible. I made three batches and got a skilled panel of ... um, my friends... to taste test for me.

Tested by a panel of 10 judges
Date: Dec 14, 2009 at 7:02pm

The Winner:
Step 1: It matters what red wine you buy, put goodness in and you'll get goodness out. But you don't need to break the bank. This wine isn't going to stand alone, it's got whiskey added for backbone.

2 bottles of Montalto, Italian wine, Cabernet + Nero D'avola blend, excellent value wine, buy at any BCLC
8 oz Irish Whiskey
1 lemon, peel 1/2 the rind and squeeze the juice
2 xmas mandarins sliced with peel
1 1/4 c sugar
5 c water

All are best if whole and grated rather than ground. They taste fresher that way.
Amounts: put in little amounts of each and taste it to balance it to your taste if you like.
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cloves
1 vanilla bean sliced lengthwise
8 pieces star anise
10 white peppercorns(or 1/2 the amount of black)
1 tsp chilli flakes (or less if you don't like heat)
fresh ginger, two big slices

Step 2: Boil water, lemon rind, mandarins, sugar and spices for 20 min till the flavours are extracted. Put on simmer and add the lemon juice.

Step 3: Heat the wine on medium in a separate pot. Do not boil! Turn off heat and add whiskey.

Step 4: Add the sugar and spice liquid to the wine slowly, about 2 cups worth. Taste along the way to make sure you get it just right for your sweetness tolerance, add more lemon juice to balance if necessary. Put the rest of the sugar syrup in the fridge for another evening.

Step 5: Serve with a fruit cake or spice cake. Makes about 8 glasses.

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