Freezing cold December nights in Manchester city centre – and all of them made toasty, comforting and festive by the sight of a series of wooden huts in the square, softly lit and packed with handmade goodies, European foods…and stalls with huge simmering cauldrons of spiced, hot, red wine. A small deposit paid for the mug, an extra bit of cash should you want a shot of rum or brandy – and that was it; standing amongst the packed crowds with a comforting cup of alcoholic spice known in European market circles as glühwein – mulled wine to us Brits.
Gloved hands wrapped around the mug to soak in every bit of warmth on offer, that little shot of alcoholic heat creeping into the body and then we were good to go; ready to join another long queue for a pricey – but essential – bratwurst. All part of the Christmas market experience.
For us, there’s no other drink that makes you feel quite as festive as a steaming hot cup of fruity, spicy red wine. And, fortunately for us, sıcak şarap (or mulled wine, as we know it in Blighty) is now popular in the bars of Fethiye over winter – of course, we’ve been known to enjoy the odd one just to warm ourselves up on arrival.
This time of year sees Christmas markets sprouting up all over Europe, and, one day, we’d love to visit one of those northern European ones – you know, the ones that look like they’re out of a fairytale. We’ll make it one day, but for now, we’re happy to partake in a sıcak şarap in a Fethiye bar – or, even better, make our own at home. This is the time of year that sees our biggest pan on the hob, bubbling away and filling the room with the smell of Christmas!
Whether you call it glühwein, mulled wine or sıcak şarap (hot wine), this time of year just isn’t the same without it. We’ve got all of our ingredients ready – because oranges and cloves are useful for more than just a mulled wine recipe (as you can see above), and we’ve actually kicked off our mulled wine season already, too! Well, it all contributes to getting oneself into the festive spirit.
Our (Fethiye) Mulled Wine Recipe – Sıcak Şarap
Mmm, you’ll notice we’ve called our mulled wine recipe ‘Fethiye Mulled Wine.’ Well, we are in Fethiye, after all, and we do like to keep things local, so we’ll be adding a couple of local seasonal ingredients to our festive drink. Do not fear; you’ll still be able to make this mulled wine in the UK or other countries where you’re reading from. None of the ingredients are exclusive to Fethiye; they’re just in season here, right now.
And the main thing to point out is, this mulled wine recipe is easy. There is no need to go off to the supermarket to buy mulled wine sachets. Where’s the fun in that? You just need a few ingredients, mix them together in a pan, heat them up and the result is festive, winter comfort in a cup (never a glass, for us – a glass doesn’t say winter).
Let’s Make Mulled Wine
- 1 litre bottle red wine
- Juice of 1 large orange
- Juice of 1 pomegranate
- 1 dessert spoonful Fethiye honey
- 1 dessert spoonful brown sugar
- 50 ml brandy or dark rum (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves, crushed
- Small pinch crushed coriander seeds
- Pour the full bottle of wine into a large saucepan.
- Add the orange juice and the pomegranate juice.
- Now add your spices, honey and sugar.
- Give everything a stir.
- Place a lid on the pan and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- Leave the lid on the pan and allow the mulled wine to stand for around 5 minutes to allow all your flavours to infuse.
- Now take a cup, place a sieve over it, and ladle your mulled wine into the cup.
- Don't forget to serve some to your friends, too!
If you don't have a cupboard filled with spices, you can use a level teaspoon of allspice instead of the cinnamon and cloves.
And that’s our (Fethiye) mulled wine recipe. So, what about this Fethiye connection? Well, we love our seasonal food around these parts and December is definitely citrus season when the lemons, tangerines, mandalinas and oranges are bursting forth and the market stalls are packed with them. Pomegranates are coming to the end of their prime but are still good for juicing. And what food is Fethiye really famous for? Fethiye honey, of course.
So there you have it; a perfect excuse to make our mulled wine recipe – a Fethiye version of mulled wine. And, as for the addition of brandy or dark rum – your mulled wine will still taste great without either of those…but it’s the festive season, it’s winter, and we’re all allowed a little indulgent treat every now and then, aren’t we? As for us, we’ll be putting a few cold meats and cheeses on a plate with a generous side serving of homemade chutney and that’ll do as a perfect mulled wine accompaniment.