‘Tis the season for cold nights and hot beverages. If your hot chocolate just isn’t cutting it, trade it in for some mulled wine — a toasty beverage infused with spices and citrus. There are plenty of Pennsylvania wineries that serve mulled wine or sell some to enjoy at home. Pick up one of these spicy sensations or make your own. All you need is a bottle of red and some heat.
Sand Castle Winery, Alpine Spice
A perennial favorite, this sweet mulled wine is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Riesling grapes, boosted with a proprietary spice blend. It can be served warm or chilled.
Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery, Spiced Winter Red
This popular winter wine is made in the style of the traditional German Glühwein, a mulled wine made with citrus and warming spices. Serve this sweet red warm for a cozy treat.
Chaddsford Winery, Spiced Apple Wine
Chadds Ford, PA
Inspired by mom’s apple pie — or at least the pie you wish your mother would have made — this wine oozes the essence of apple, cinnamon, and spice. The winery recommends brewing up a hot mulled wine by tossing a bottle in the crockpot with cranberry juice, sugar, a clove-studded orange, and cinnamon. Top with fresh apple slices.
Penns Woods Winery, Bancroft Mulling Wine
Chadds Ford, PA
You can enjoy Penns Woods’ beloved hot spiced wine at the vineyard or at home: A blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this rosé comes with a packet of their signature spice mix and instructions for no-fail mulled wine magic. This wine may be out of stock so please contact the winery for inventory.
Of course, if it’s too cold to head to one of these wineries — or even your local wine shop — you can get cooking with a Pennsylvania red from your rack. The best options will be fruit-forward and full-bodied so they can stand up to the additional flavors. Don’t use anything too pricey since much of the nuance will be lost in the process.
Be sure not to overheat the wine (alcohol starts to vaporize at 173 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep the temperature well below that). This is why a crockpot is such an easy option. Some classic additions include clove, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, honey, brandy, and orange. If you’re looking to experiment, you can toss in cardamom, bay leaf, sage, lemon zest, chamomile flowers, or even ginger.
Here is a basic mulled wine recipe, but you have our permission to improvise:
1 bottle of red wine
Two oranges, sliced thinly
Handful of cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 cup of orange juice
Combine in a crockpot or large pot on low heat. Let ingredients infuse for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy.
*The wines mentioned in this article were available as of the date of publication [01/31/18]. Contact the winery directly for current inventory.