Guys, it's almost Christmas and I'm very excited about that!! In the run up to the holiday season, you can usually find me in a corner with a hot water bottle, drinking mulled wine and cider by the gallon and stuffing my face with mince pies *YUM*

Mulled wine (also known in German as Gl├╝hwein) is a warm red wine mixed with sugar, spice, and everything nice (points if you know what that's from!). You can usually find it for sale around the European Christmas markets around this time of year. But if you fancy trying to make it yourself then I can help with that!
Luckily, it's really easy to make. Here's everything you'll need to make roughly 1.5 litres of mulled wine.
2 bottles dry red wine (you don't have to use anything fancy, I tend to use either a Merlot, Pinot Noir, or a Shiraz)
150g caster sugar
2 lemons, juice and peel
1 orange, juice and peel
6 cloves
Nutmeg, finely grated
Vanilla pod, halved
6 cardamom pods
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks

Begin by peeling large sections from the lemons and orange using a potato peeler. Using the same lemons and orange, squeeze the juice into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the peel and caster sugar. Turn your stove onto a medium heat.

Add the cloves, 10-12 gratings of nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon sticks to the saucepan and pour in enough red wine to cover the sugar and spice mixture.

Let the wine simmer until all of the sugar has been dissolved into the red wine. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the wine to a rolling boil for approximately 4 - 5 minutes or until it becomes a lovely thick syrupy consistency. Making a syrup first means that the flavours of the spices and sugar can really combine with the wine without burning all of the alcohol off the remaining wine.

When you believe your syrup has reached the right consistency, add the star anise and the remaining wine, stirring to make sure everything is well combined. Allow to warm for approximately 5 minutes before ladling into heatproof glasses or mugs.
Perfect for dinner parties, family gatherings, evenings with friends, or just as a warm wintery drink with a good book or film. I hope you're all looking forward to Christmas as much as I am!