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Boozy Mulled Drinks

There’s nothing better than a hot beverage to warm the soul, and for us, we simply can’t go past delicious, boozy mulled drinks enjoyed by the fire. Whether it’s mulled wine, cider or cocktail, there’s plenty of choices to try at home. So, to give you some ideas, hints and tips, we asked Max Helsing of Blackhearts & Sparrows a few boozy questions to keep you toasty on those cold winter nights.

Where is Mulled Wine From?

Mulled wine originates in Rome, where the first recorded spiced and heated wine can be traced back to the 2nd century. As the Romans travelled across Europe, both conquering and trading, their love of mulled wine spread across their empire.

A cold climate beverage, mulled wine has been made famous by Europe. “It seems to be a strong tradition in German and Austria where, of course, the weather calls for warm beverages,” says Max. “In these countries, it is usually referred to as Gluhwein.”

Max had his first mulled wine at the Vienna night market around Christmas 2011, and says it really ‘made’ the entire experience.

The Best Mulled Wines

“Zenzen Gluhwein is a great base for mulled wine and is quite cheap, but mulled wine can be made from any wine”, says Max.

“Typically, wines with less tannin, and a more fruit forward flavour profile make for delicious mulled wine. You’ll be adding so much flavour and spice to it that it just needs something fleshy, fruity, and delicious as a backbone!

“Grapes like Pinot or Gamay may be a little too delicate, so go for something like Malbec or Merlot,” Max continues.

Ingredients for Mulling

An array of ingredients can be used in mulling to create the flavour you enjoy, so get experimenting!

Max recommends using some citrus and then trying different spices. “Spices like cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are great in mulled drinks.

“Source and use quality, fresh spices where possible, and exercise some restraint. It’s tempting to throw the kitchen sink in there, but focus instead on what flavours you like and think will go well together.

“Also, don’t be afraid to add a nice whack of sugar!”

Mulled Cider

Mulled cider has gained popularity in recent years. But what should you look for when choosing a cider to mull?

“Preference is key here,” says Max. “But it is a handy work around to use a sweeter cider, that way you don’t have to add that much sugar, if any.”

Like mulled wine, there are plenty of ingredients that work well in mulled cider. You can use very similar spices as well as cardamom and dried fruit.

“Calvados is fantastic to add to mulled cider. It’s an apple cider brandy from France and it adds a great kick.”

Mulled Cocktails

Mulled cocktails are delicious and they are great to try out at home. While you can use any type of liqueur, rum works well as it’s all about the sugar content.

“Warm cocktails absolutely work. I love Hot Buttered Rum, Hot Toddy and Blue Blaze. They can all be made at home and are absolutely delicious. Although a word of caution for anyone wanting to try making the Blue Blazer at home as it requires you to set your drink aflame,” warns Max.

“For those who are not keen on flaming drinks, Blackhearts & Sparrows has the Kingston Negroni from Melbourne’s own Black Pearl cocktail bar in stores now. The drink itself replaces gin with Appleton Jamaican rum and was made to be served either chilled or warmed up.”

Can You Re-heat Mulled Drinks?

“Much like any wine, your mulled wine will oxidise. Added to that, the wine has been cooked, creating a pretty underwhelming leftover. I recommend being careful when making a batch, don’t make too much, but for a day or two it is perfectly safe to drink,” advises Max.

Are Mulled Drinks More or Less Alcoholic?

While warming/cooking alcohol does burn it off to an extent, you are still drinking an alcoholic drink.

“Bear in mind how long the wine has been mulled for and consider if you have added anything like brandy or a liqueur. Don’t let the sweet soothing taste fool you, you should always drink in moderation,” concludes Max.

If you’re looking to pour a few boozy mulled drinks at home, start with the below recipe from Blackhearts and Sparrows’ Ollie Hodgkins.

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