Eat Your Heart Out

Mulled Wine

In these cold winter months, what we're all really looking for is something to keep us warm. This week's column will help you achieve inner warmth - by imbibing a sumptuous hot drink, of course. There are many excellent winter drinks to warm you up: hot chocolate, lattes in all their Starbucks manifestations, teas and infusions, or even what your grandmother would recommend - hot milk with honey. But great as all these are, there is one drink that gets you feeling warm and fuzzy in more ways than one, and also satisfies that need to be festive. This, of course, is mulled wine.

The concept of mulled wine is very simple: take wine, heat and season it with various Northern European winter spices, and sip it in front of a fire until you fall asleep. The origin of mulled wine is shrouded in mystery, as is the origin of the word "mull" in this context, meaning "heated and spiced." Most sources trace the practice of mulling wine back to medieval Europe, where wine was a staple. Mulled wine may have been made out of bad batches of wine; this kills two birds with one stone, since it makes the wine palatable and helps warm people up. In any case, the people had a need to get drunk, and in winter, hot alcohol is better than cold alcohol.

Mulled wine is called Gløg in Sweden, Glögi in Finland, and Glühwein in Germany. Elsewhere in Europe, it either isn't cold, or they drink vodka. Recipes abound for this traditional staple, but the key elements are consistent: cinnamon, cloves, and citrus. Apart from these, there are many variations. Clearly, you don't need expensive wine for mulling, since you're going to "ruin" it anyway. Buy something red, drinkable, and not too sweet, for under $10. Here is my current favorite recipe for mulled wine.


- 1 bottle of red wine

- 8 whole cloves

- 2 oranges or 1 orange and ¼ cup orange juice.

- 2 sticks cinnamon

- ½ cup sugar

- ¼ cup water

- ½ tsp. grated nutmeg

- ½ tsp. grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Stud one orange with the cloves (pushing them in as if they were tacks). Bake it 15-20 minutes, till soft. Juice the other orange. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and heat on medium. Stir to dissolve, and place the cinnamon sticks in the sugar-water. Simmer, and stir frequently, until thickened into a syrup, about 5 min. When the baked orange is ready, begin heating the wine in a saucepan on low. Place the baked orange with cloves, the syrup (including the cinnamon sticks), ginger, and nutmeg in the wine. Stir occasionally while heating for at least 30 min to allow spices to infuse. Do not allow the wine to boil. Remove the orange and the cinnamon sticks, and add the orange juice, mixing well. Strain if desired, serve, and enjoy by the fire. (Makes 6 glasses).

Variations: Use honey instead of the syrup. Vary the spices, including things like cardamom, lemon zest, or allspice. Add a couple of shots of cognac or brandy at the end for more bite.

Published 12.15.03
Today's Talks 05.03.04
Wednesday, May 5
"Cinco de Mayo BBQ Celebration!”
MeSLA, MGH Minority Affairs
Come grab some good food and enjoy the sunny weather as we celebrate Mexican culture and commemorate Mexico’s victory over the French army in 1862.
5:30 pm, Vanderbilt Hall Deanery
Free food.

“The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge, Death, and Clinical Depression”
Countway Library
Lecture and booksigning by Robert Gilbert, author, Northeastern University.
4:00pm, 5th floor, Minot Room, Countway Library of Medicine

Thursday, May 6
"Public Policies for HIV/AIDS with Special Reference to China”
Asia Public Policy Workshop and WHR Rivers Symposium
Debrework Zewdie, World Bank; Jim Kim, WHO; Shen Jie, China Center for Disease Control and National Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control; Anthony Saich, KSG.
6:00pm, Starr Auditorium, Belfer Building, KSG

Friday, May 7
“2nd Annual Symposium on Racial/ Ethnic Health Disparities Research in the U.S.: From Research to Practice”
Harvard Interfaculty Program
Faculty discus basic physiology, state-of-the-art treatments, research, and future directions.
Speakers: Reginald Stuart, HSPH; Suzette Oyeku, HSPH; Debra Joy Pérez, GSAS.
8:00am – 4:30pm. Room G-1, Kresge Building, HSPH
Register www.healthpolicy.harvard.edu/ disparity.php, under “Disparities Symposium 2004.” More information, email retucker@disparitiessymposium.com

Saturday, May 8 2004
"Collateral Benefits: Complex Health Interventions Among the Poor”
DRCLAS, Division of Social Medicine Health Inequalities, BWH
Paul Farmer, PIH; Fernet Léandre, Zanmi Lasante, Haiti; Askar Yedilbayev, PIH, Russia; Jaime Bayona, Socios en Salud, Peru; Anne Hasitings, Fonkoze, Haiti.
9:00am – 1:00pm, New Research Building, HMS

"Volunteer opportunity at The Food Project”
9:30 am-12:30pm, West Cottage lot in Roxbury
Transportation provided. Email Christine or Molly Perencevich. Limit 15 students. www.thefoodproject.org/

"2nd Year Show Videos"
Checks to “HMS/HSDM 2nd Year Show.”
Contact: Nancy Chang

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