2orangessliced into wheels and halved, plus more for garnish
1/2cupgranulated sugaror honey or maple syrup, or less to taste
12wholecloves(see note 3)
4cinnamon sticksplus more for garnish
4star aniseplus more for garnish
In a large non-aluminum pot over medium-low heat, combine wine, orange juice, orange slices, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Simmer until steam begins to rise from the pot and the mixture is hot, about 10 minutes (do not boil).
Strain (or remove spice bundle) and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Serve warm garnished with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and star anise if desired.
Wine: Choose an affordable, bold red wine like a malbec, Syrah, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Consider a high-quality boxed wine too. Buy more than you think you need, though. Your guests will inhale every last drop, this recipe is so good. If you're using white wine, choose an unoaked dry white wine like a pinot Grigio or sauvignon blanc.
Spices: A sachet is a fancy term for spices tied up in a piece of cheesecloth with twine. You could also use a tea ball or loose leaf tea bag to hold them. It makes it easier to pull these small ingredients out of the mulled wine later. Or, you can just add everything straight to the pot since you strain the mulled wine at the end.
Yield: This recipe makes eight 1-cup servings (and is easily doubled or tripled for your crowd).
Storage: Mulled wine can be refrigerated for up to a week. Just bring it to a simmer before serving.
Garnish: Cinnamon sticks, anise pods, orange wheels, or a curled orange peel.
Non-alcoholic: All you have to do is replace the wine in the recipe for a good Concord grape juice (like Welch's) and omit the orange juice and the sugar. Then add the citrus slices, spices, and proceed with the recipe as directed.
Spiked mulled wine: Completely optional, but very delicious. Brandy, cognac, or bourbon added to mulled wine in small amounts gives the drink a nice depth of flavor, much like sangria.
Slow cooker: Make the mulled wine in a crockpot on LOW for easy open house serving.