Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, and Seasons Greetings! However we celebrate, it’s definitely time for some holiday cheer.

So, today we have a super-awesome recipe for a very Christmasy, Crock Pot mulled wine coming to you from Heather De Laurentis. She is Brian’s oldest daughter, as well as my Facebook editor extraordinaire.

Heather is responsible for all our social media venues and posts Jeff’s Corner every week. I send it to her, and somehow it magically appears. Plus, she keeps me from stepping out of bounds when Dionysus takes control of my pen.

Let’s start with a little history. “Mulled” wine has long been associated with the holidays, but its history dates way, way back. Mulled means “heated with spices”. In ancient times, wine that had spoiled was heated with honey, spices, and herbs to make it once again palatable. Later, in medieval times, mulled wine was called “Ypocris” or “Hipocris” after the Greek physician Hippocrates. It was given to the sick as a healthy alternative to contaminated water.

As a holiday beverage, mulled wine is found throughout the world. In Germany, it’s called Gluhwein (glowing wine) and in France it is known as Vin Chaud (heated wine). In Nordic countries it’s called Glogg, and in South America, Navegado.

Mulled wine can be sweetened with honey or sugar, and traditional spices include cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla beans, orange peel, and fruit juice. Almonds and raisins might be added, and it is frequently fortified with brandy.

Heather, after some intensive research and tasting, brings us a delightful recipe (derived from the Kitchen Treaty blog) that will not only fill your home with lovely aromas but also have you and your guests warm and glowing. I recommend doubling it, but the recipe below is measured for 4 servings.

Cranberry-Orange Mulled Wine

Crock Pot (3 quart or larger)
1 bottle of our Grand Rouge (semi-sweet red wine)
1.5 cups orange juice (make sure to get 100% juice or fresh squeeze yourself!)
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 medium orange
2 tablespoon granulated sugar (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2, 3-inch cinnamon sticks
Garnish with cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and fresh cranberries

Add Grand Rouge, orange juice, whole cranberries, and sugar to the Crock Pot. Stir the ingredients to begin dissolving the sugar. (No need to heat yet)
Stud the (whole and unpeeled) orange with the cloves. Poke it all over with a toothpick first to make holes for the cloves.
Add the clove-studded orange and the cinnamon sticks to the wine.
Cook on low for 1.5- 2.5 hours, or until the berries are soft.
Remove the orange and the cinnamon sticks, then carefully pour the mulled wine through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heat-proof bowl. Using the back of the spoon, press on the cranberries to get all of the juices into the bowl.
Ladle mulled wine into cups, garnish and serve// or return wine to the Crock Pot to keep warm for later (low heat).

Cranberry mulled wine

Our GCV Grand Rouge might just be the perfect wine for this, but any fruity red that is light in oak and tannin will do well. Also, VERY IMPORTANT! Do not heat this above 160*. Alcohol vaporizes at 168, and if you heat it above that it goes off into the atmosphere and is lost forever.
Thanks, Heather. Kathy and I can’t wait to enjoy this!