Traditionally served as a Christmas drink in Europe, mulled wine has become the southern hemisphere’s hottest winter drink, fuelled by the growing popularity of solstice celebrations and fireside festivities around Australia.
It’s all about the experience – and sharing the moment on social media – these days and what says experience more than sipping mulled wine beside a roaring fire?
At least 120 solstice-themed events were held across Australia last month. One of the most famous, solstice pioneer Dark Mofo, was launched in Hobart in 2013. This year’s festival featured food trucks selling roast chestnuts and mulled wine, while warming wine and cider drinks are a staple at pubs in the Tasmanian capital.
Over in Adelaide, the recent Winterpalooza East End Street Party offered hot buttered rum shots and mulled wine for chilly attendees.
Winter fire festivals are also touting mulled wine as one of the highlight of their celebrations during August.
WinterWild is back in Victoria’s Apollo Bay over two weekends, August 13-15 and August 27-29, with its Wild Feast featuring roaring fire-pits and char-grills and mugs of mulled wine.
Meanwhile, the 2021 Orange Winter Fire Festival is promising a weekend filled with fabulous food and mulled wines, enjoyed around roaring fires from August 6 to 8.
Even the capital of the Sunshine State is embracing the trend. Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel, for example, is wheeling a trolley around every Sunday during winter, filled with mulled wine, mulled apple cinnamon cider, hot honey mead and mulled rosé.
The at-home experience
The drink is also easy to make at home. There many different recipes to choose from, featuring ingredients such as orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry red wine and a bit of port or brandy. Experts suggest the secrets to success are choosing a wine you love, not adding too much sweetness and warming the mixture gently.
Accolade Wines brand Jam Shed is even offering mulled wine kits and jam jars with every purchase of its Shiraz across selected retailers nationally.
Georgia Viner, Brand Manager at Accolade Wines, said: “So far this winter we have seen mulled wine serves in pubs across the country. The trend is well and truly established in Europe and the UK but we are starting to see it a lot more in Australia. In the cooler months, many of us turn to warmer drinks and the established cosiness of mulled wine is the perfect solution.
“In Europe, many families and pubs have their own secret recipe, passed down from generation to generation. People are proud of their family recipes and want to share the taste with their friends and communities.
“We created the Jam Shed kits to bring a bit of fun to the home wine drinking experience. With the year that’s been, people are seeking experiences with their eating and drinking moments, so we hope the kits will bring that to Australians.
“We partnered with local Victorian artisan food creators Food Symphony to show Aussies how to perfect a recipe of their own. Food Symphony tell us it is all about having a deep wine that can handle the combination spices, all balanced with the right ratio.
“The Jam Shed kit is easy to prepare and perfect to share with family and friends, especially if you have access to an outdoor fire and some smores, the American marshmallow and chocolate campfire treat. There is no better way to experience this winter.”
Jam Shed’s 3-step recipe
- In a saucepan, combine 1 bottle of Jam Shed Shiraz, with 10g
Mulled Wine Mix Bundle, plus 1⁄4 cup of brown sugar (sugar optional);
- Slowly bring to a gentle simmer, not boiling. Turn off heat,
cover and steep for 15 minutes (or longer depending on desired strength);
- If preferred add slices of oranges, berries or stone fruit, or enhance with orange liquor.
As for Viner’s favourite time to sip the beverage, she confessed: “Strolling through Swedish Christmas markets is the best occasion, however while we are all stuck at home in Australia, nothing beats rugging up and enjoying a steaming glass of mulled wine under the stars.”
Rob Aitken, Dan Murphy’s Hawthorne East Wine Merchant, agreed that mulled wine is rapidly gaining popularity with Aussies: “At this time of the year, we are seeing many customers either buying Gluhwein, which is a bottled mulled wine from Germany, or shopping around for red wines to make mulled wine with at home. I tend to recommend medium-bodied Mediterranean varieties like Grenache or Tempranillo, as they’re not overly sweet or too heavy and won’t overpower the spices – just complement them.”
The retailer has even added a non-alcoholic mulled wine as part of its wider ranging in the category from Edenvale Hearth that’s perfect for sipping during Dry July.
Here’s a video showing how to make your own mulled wine: