Now this, this is a beverage that is truly “holidays only.” I mean, when else would you drink mulled wine? (Perhaps this is me projecting, but I really only drink mulled wine at the holidays…)
At any rate, there isn’t much to say about this drink. It’s warming, it’s tasty, and it’s pretty straightforward. Some cheap red wine (but I beg you, NOT Carlo), mulling spices, a splash of sweet vermouth, and a big pot on the stove turned to low for about 40 minutes. And voila! You’ve got yourself some mulled wine. Great for a dinner party. Or just a party. Or just for yourself! (You know, if you roll that way. I certainly do.)
But here’s the catch: In general, I’m very much a “DIY” and “made from scratch” kind of gal in the kitchen. I will never advise you to buy a pie crust. Make your own goddamn crust. I will never advise you to buy pre-made burgers. Make your own damn burgers. You have two hands, so you can do it yourself.
But I WILL advise you to NOT make your own mulling spices. Buy them. Buy them from the store. And here’s why: Making your own mulling spices sounds like a really cool thing to do. But unless you have tons of disposable income (in which case, do as you wish), it’s not worth the cost. For about $4 you can buy a packet of mulling spices that will make one GIANT pot of mulled wine, or several smaller ones. To buy the spices that you would need to make it on your own would cost at least $25. Yes, you could use them again and again, but let’s be honest. How often do you make mulled wine? Those spices (whole cloves, allspice pods, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, orange peels) are really only useful for that and for very few other things.
So, to the point, mulled wine is delicious! And if you buy mulling spices from the store, it is one of the cheapest party beverages you can make. And that’s always a good thing.