Nicola Robinson, restaurant manager at The Ivy, fills us in on this spicy tipple.

Recipes for mulled wine vary. But at The Ivy we use red wine (typically cabernet sauvignon for its cassis qualities), port, brandy, sliced lemon and orange, a clove-studded orange, cinnamon sticks, ginger and sugar.

Warmed wine was first recorded in First Century Rome. But from a British traditional point of view it became popular at Christmas in Victorian England.

Mulled wine was originally drunk as a way to make bad wine palatable but it has since evolved. It’s no longer acceptable to simply offer cheap, warm, leftover wine mixed with orange juice.

Mulled wine isn’t only enjoyed at Christmas. In colder climes, it’s enjoyed for its warming qualities. On the ski slopes of Europe it’s called glühwein or vin chaud and is a popular winter party punch.

A warm batch of freshly brewed mulled wine smells of Christmas and imbues a room with wonderful festive spirit. To make it at home, warm the wine (never boil it) and stir in some sugar until it’s dissolved. When the wine starts to steam, cover the cauldron with foil. Add lemon and orange slices, plus wafer-thin fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks. Add port and brandy and then a clove-studded whole orange. Cover again with foil and allow the flavours to steep for 60 minutes on a low heat.

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