On Christmas day I am in charge of the mulled wine. This is a modern tradition in the Crohill household and with each year my recipe gets tweaked and changed. One of my favourite pastimes in December is to practice and perfect my mulling skills (before drinking all the evidence!)

I’ve committed this years recipe to paper (usually I employ a suck it and see approach) so here it is, Adams winter berry mulled wine…

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  • 50g Demerara sugar
  • 50g White caster Sugar
  • 1/2 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Cloves
  • 4 Whole cardamom pods
  • Star anise
  • A handful of whole cranberries
  • A handful of red currants
  • 100ml cherry brandy
  • A bottle of red wine

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Add the sugar, cinnamon, bayleaf, cloves, cardamom, fruit and 50ml of cherry brandy to a large pan. Bring to a medium heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to heat until the mixture is bubbling and begins to reduce – the cranberries and red currants will mush down nicely. The idea is to create a syrup infused with the fruit and spices that you will add the wine to later. You can make a larger batch of syrup if you like and keep it over the festive period to speed up the process!

When you are ready to make your mulled wine turn the heat right down and add the bottle of red – something full bodied works best. Add the star anise and heat slowly, you want the mixture nice and hot but don’t allow it to bubble – we don’t want any of that alcohol escaping. At this point I like to add another 50ml of cherry brandy for a bit of a winter kick but that is optional of course! You can substitute the brandy for your favourite winter tipple, syrupy flavoured liqueurs work best… I’m tempted to try amaretto next time. Serve and smile.


You may wish to give the mulled wine a taste before serving, the red currants and cranberry mean this recipe is perhaps a little more tangy than you are used to. Simply add sugar to taste once the wine is ready or add some fresh orange juice to sweeten.

So… What’s your favourite winter tipple? Do share…