dsc_0121I’m not a big wine drinker but a cup of hot spiced mulled wine is one of my favourite things.

There is nothing else, for me, that conjures up that whimsical Christmas spirit and tradition. It’s Christmas in a glass.

My first experience of this glorious drink was in the ski resort of Tignes, high in the French Alpes, on my first even ski holiday. We called it Gluhwein but it should have been Vin Chaud as we were definitely in France.

It’s GLUHWEIN (translated Glow Wine) across the Germanic countries and GLOGG in Norway.

In Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia you would be served KUHANO VINO (cooked wine)

In Brazil, it is called VINHO QUENTE,  and it’s served in June during the Festa Junina.

The Bulgarians call it GREYANO VINO (heated wine) and it includes honey and peppercorn.

The Chileans drink CANDOLA in the south and VINO NAVEGA’O in the north.

In Hungary they drink FORRALT BOR (boiled wine) and they sometimes add Amaretto for extra flavour.

For the Italians, it is VIN BRULE or burnt wine, and the Latvians serve KARSTVINS or hot wine.

The Dutch for some reason call it BISSCHOPSWIJN (literally ‘bishop’s wine’) and the Poles have GRZANE WINO (heated wine), very similar to the Czech Republic where they drink SWARENE VINO (boiled wine).

Further East, the Russians drink GLINTWEIN which is very similar to German Gluhwein

Further West, the Canadians mix red wine with maple syrup (of course) and heated hard liquor to make a drink called CARIBOU, very popular during the Quebec Winter Carnival.

So if you’re ever on BBC Pointless, and the category is Mulled Wine – you’ll be OK

My advice – avoid the pre-made ‘Red Mulled Wine’ that is readily available in the supermarkets. Yes, I agree it’s convenient and quick – but I suspect they use pretty bargain basement wine and it often tastes acidic and quite rough.

There are as many ways to make this famous drink as there are different names for it. I’ve combined a couple of recipes here to make something delicious for you to try.



Start with a bottle of fruity red wine – perhaps Chianti or similar. If in doubt head down to your local wine shop and ask their advice.

A generous glug of Rum

1 clementine

1 lemon

1 lime

3 cloves

fresh nutmeg to grate

vanilla pod

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamon to crush

100g dark muscavado sugar

3 bay leaves


Peel the fruit so you have large sections of peel and add to the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

Cut the clementine in half, stud with cloves and add to the mix.

Add the cinnamon shards, bay leaves and a generous grating of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.

Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil for 5 minutes until it’s becomes a thick syrup.

Turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine and the rum. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, then ladle into mugs or glasses ansd serve

Nigella suggests you leave some in the pan on the heat to get the smells wafting through the house.

You can enjoy this all through the holidays …… and relax.

See ya


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