So my first challenge for my Christmas Extravaganza was to recreate Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten's mulled wine. Two notes on this before we get started... 1) If you ever need to get a cookbook, get hers. All her recipes come out the way they are supposed to, which is not something that can always be said of some other publications. 2) I don't love red wine and never really felt the urge to try mulled wine but this recipe is actually very very tasty. Ina adds the genius ingredient of apple cider which enhances the sweetness of the drink and cuts the bitterness of the wine. I think it just made the drink overall more full and sophisticated. A lot of mulled wine recipes have a huge number of expensive spices which can make this a costly affair but this recipe really simplifies the ingredient list. I altered the recipe a little bit to make it simpler but it was still so delicious and warm. I'll be drinking this all through whatever polar vortex we have coming our way.
4 cups apple cider
1 bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
3 star anise (if you don't have these, I didn't think it made a huge difference)
Combine the cider, wine, honey or syrup, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve.
The link to the original is here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mulled-wine-recipe.html