Spiced Wine: the Cure for Both Autumn and Winter Chills

AYZA offers a complimentary cup of spiced wine during the autumn and winter at both locations. 

As we enter October, the weather is becoming colder. New Yorkers are dressing warmer, and we start drinking hot chocolate instead of eating chocolate ice cream. Along with hot chocolate, another drink to battle the cold is spiced or mulled wine. Europeans traditionally make their own versions of mulled wine for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a favorite at AYZA and you may have tried it on one of your visits. Here is a little rundown of why this flavorful drink is so well-loved in Europe. Also we give you a couple suggestions in making some homemade spiced wine.

Warm for Winter

The first thing you will notice about spiced wine is that it is served warm. Some even prefer that it is hot. That is one of the primary reasons people drink mulled wine in winter. Some countries call spiced wine: burnt wine, glow wine, boiled wine or hot wine, owing to its characteristic warmth. Before the days of central heating, you can imagine how popular it was in the coldest months of winter.

Different Traditions

Mulled wine traditions are quite old and extend through numerous countries. Great Britain, Germanic countries, Nordic countries and Slavic countries all have a version of mulled wine. There are a few similarities that most share. Cinnamon is almost always a given, and tends to be the strongest spice (besides cloves). Normally, spiced wine is sweetened whether with sugar or with the usage of a sweet wine, like port.

The alcohol has a little bit of a kick.  The red wine is the base to almost all recipes, varying from traditional table wines to claret to port. To boost the wine, some add a spirit, like rum or vodka increasing the alcohol content.

Choice of Ingredients

As said above, there is much variety when it comes to ingredients. One important question is if you are making your own spiced wine is: do you have additional fruit or no fruit? Some types include citrus fruits (like oranges, bitter oranges or lemons) and/or berries. The additional of fruit gives it a little tangy taste, something very desirable in the springtime but normally more of a matter of preference in winter.

The spice usage is quite heterogeneous. Other than cinnamon and cloves, mulled wine can have nutmeg, mace, cardamom, pepper, ginger etc.  If you plan to make a mulled wine at home, experiment with the spices as you can tweak your spiced wine to your pleasure.

Spiced wine is always a welcome relief from the cold, and anytime you have had one too many glasses of hot chocolate, make yourself a mug of spiced wine.

Creative Common Photos from Flickr