Mulled red wine

Photographer: Adam
Makes 6-7 glasses

Nothing warms you up more than a spicy glass of mulled wine. The divine aromas of citrus and spice coupled with the pungent smell of warmed red wine draws you in and then the taste and warmth of it on your tongue makes every sip a flavour experience.  I really love the star anise; it gives the wine this delectable liquorice quality worth savouring on your palate.

The first time I tried this was when a Finnish girl I was working with in Milford Sound made it for her birthday on Christmas Eve. It was a very heady brew that didn’t quite match the soaring hot summer and my aching sunburnt shoulders, nonetheless it piqued my interest and I vowed to try it again under a more suitable climate. Here are the results of my efforts. I find the water helps to make it less overpowering but you may find you like it a little stronger.



1 bottle 750ml of medium quality shiraz or merlot
3 cinnamon quills
10 cloves
5 star anise
2 slices of fresh ginger root
10 dried pomegranate seeds (optional)
½ – ¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup water
2 oranges


1. Add the wine and all other ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan.
2. Carefully peel half of one of the oranges. Try as much as you can to avoid the pith as this will create a very bitter flavour. Juice both oranges and add this along with the peel into the wine mixture.
3. Gently bring the pot up to heat just below a simmer on medium-high setting on your cooktop, then reduce back so as to only gently warm the wine. Warm for 20-30 min to let the spices infuse.
4. Remove from heat, strain and serve. Alternatively, strain and store so you can heat it later and drink at your leisure.