Mulled wine is right up there with eggnog, when it comes to classic Christmas drinks. Warm, sweet and buoyed up by spices and liqueur, I sometimes think that it's a masala chai version of wine! It's perfect for cool winter evenings and quite simple to make. Depending on your taste, you can create a lot of variations but the basic process remains the same - simmer the wine with spices and sugar. You don't have to use expensive wine either, since the flavour depends on the other additives.
Recipe: Mulled wine for four people
750 ml dry red wine
1 orange, sliced into rounds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 bay leaf
1/4th cup brandy, gin or liqueur of choice
Brown sugar, honey or maple syrup for sweetening
On a saucepan, pour the wine and all other ingredients. Keep it on a low flame and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Check the sweetness and add more sweetener if required. Once done, strain the wine and serve in transparent glasses (so you can admire its beautiful colour). Garnish with the anise, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
Tip: At no point should the wine boil, else the alcohol may evaporate.