Now this was a happy accident. I don’t know how I ended up with some red wine in a cup with honey in it, but it happened, and I’m so glad it did. Once I discovered how lovely my red wine tasted with honey, I thought to make a mulled wine with it. Mulled wines are typically very spicy affairs, with cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel, etc. All well and good. The problem is that all of those spices together detract from the honey, and it’s the honey taste that goes so well with the wine. So this is a simple mulled wine, with only cinnamon, a few peppercorns and a little lemon zest to liven things up, all enhancing the flavors of the wine and the honey, not competing with them. It’s also pretty sweet, so feel free to play around with the amount of honey to suit your taste.
If you are unsure about whether or not you’ll like this recipe, just try it with a half glass of wine first, not the whole bottle. Heat the wine with a little honey to see if you like the way those flavors work together.
Make sure you use a wine that you like to drink! If it isn't good cold, it's not going to be any better hot.
- 1 750ml bottle of zinfandel, or other full-bodied robust red wine that you enjoy drinking
- 3/4 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of honey
- 15 black peppercorns
- 3 inches of cinnamon stick for the wine, more sticks (optional) for serving
- Thin peels of lemon zest for serving
Into a 2-qt saucepan, put the wine, water, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and honey (if you are unsure about the sweetness level, start with less honey and add more to taste). Heat until steamy and lightly simmering.
Strain into glass mugs. Serve with a thin strip of lemon zest and a bit of cinnamon stick.