The blazing southern hemispheric sun is in full force over hometown Melbourne at the moment, but here in Berlin it’s bone cold and breaching the negatives, and the Mercury is only going to plunge downward in the weeks to come. Consequently, our recipe this week is slightly more geared towards those of us freezing our bits off up north than those sweltering in the heat south of the border.
While Tuesday Mussel Night was the number one tradition in our old sharehouse, the P.A Mansion, ‘Mulled Wine’ came a very close second in the all time sh.k recipe pantheon.
The warming smells of rich sugar syrup bubbling away with vanilla, clove, cinnamon and citrus made even the gnarliest of Melbourne winters glow with incandescent joy. Mulled Wine! Our winter saviour in a cold, old house. We indulged in voluminous batches of the stuff, that is of course until the night we got a little ahead of ourselves, invited a few rowdy folk over and woke the next morning to seething hangovers and 20-odd empty bottles—and absolutely not one skerrick of sugar in the house whatsoever. Our Mulled Marathon generated at least five or six large pots worth, and our sugar—a key Mulled Wine ingredient—diminished in quality with each batch: from castor to brown to the puckered lip sweetness of raw icing sugar. The latter lingered in our palettes for months, destroying the allure of Mulled Wine for a couple of years afterward.
We’ve recovered; the mull is back in full force—and it’s better than ever.
‘Glühwein’ is a winter staple here in Deutschland, beverage du jour at the annual Christmas markets that have popped up luminous, merry and magical all over Berlin and beyond of late.
Last Saturday, we consummated the ‘Return of Glühwein’ by inviting our international mates from Deutsch language class over for dinner and a hug batch of the good stuff. In attendance: 2 Norwegians, 2 Kiwis, 2 Italians, 2 Aussies, a Dane, an American and an Israeli, a raucous night that proved again the power of warmed, spicy alcohol to bridge all and any cultural divide.
Folks, feast your gullets on one of the sh.k pillars—our most cherished, time and sugar tested winter beverage—Mulled Wine, aka Glühwein.
Prost! and frohe Weihnachten from sh.k!
- 2 Bottles of good red wine (preferably not too sweet)
- 120g of white or caster sugar
- 2 Clementines/mandarins
- 8 Cloves
- 4 Bay leaves (fresh or dried)
- 2 Star anise
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Lime
- 1 Stick of cinnamon
- 1 Vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways
- Nutmeg for grating
- In a large, heavy based pot add clementine peel and squeeze in juice, peel lemon and lime and add peel to pot.
- Add sugar, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, vanilla pod, grated whole nutmeg and pour in a splash of wine (about 100ml, just enough to cover the sugar).
- Heat mixture on high until bubbling and syrupy, reduce heat to low and add remaining wine and star anise. Slowly heat wine for about 15-20 minutes at a low temperature until hot, the wine can then be left on the stove at a very low temperature.
- Ensure your wine does not simmer or boil as this will burn off the alcohol; the trick is to gently heat it very slowly.