Now we are traveling, we have more time to ourselves than ever before. There is nothing like having a little project to keep you motivated and engaged. With the temperatures in Stanthorpe starting to push into the minus at night, I decided to brew up some mulled wine to enjoy by the fire.
The granite belt region boasts beautiful cold climate wine. Initially I thought I was butchering a local bottle and defying fine craftsmanship, by turning it into mulled wine. Then again art is often taking something good and making it your own. I wanted a wine unique to the area, ready to drink, cheap but rich and smooth . We found just the bottle while indulging in cheesecake and coffee at Hidden Creek Winery. There was a clearance barrel of 2002 Merlot that was $7 a bottle. It had reached the end of its shelf life and was ready to drink now. This was the last of the batch and the winery wanted to move stock. Hidden Creek Winery is situated along Eukey road in Ballandean. At 950 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest vineyards in Australia.
The setting is beautiful. There was just enough sunshine for us to sit outside by the dam overlooking the granite boulders and vineyard. The Cafe serves food, desserts and coffee. We did a quick taste test of the red wines and port. Their vintage port is delicious…oh I wish I had bought a bottle.
Okay so with wine in hand, I needed 2 oranges, 1 lemon, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and brandy.
If I looked hard enough I reckon I would have been able to find a locally made brandy but we opted for a supermarket variety.
The oranges and lemons came from Gympie (the granite belt is too frosty for citrus).I bought these from a road side stall in Glen Aplin.
I followed a recipe in the 2012 edition of the Granite Belt Wine Country Brass Monkey Season online magazine.
- 1 x 750ml bottle of dry red wine
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brandy
- ½ cup water
- 2 oranges thinly sliced
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 2 x cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Lemon peel to decorate.
Place wine, sugar, brandy, water, orange, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a large saucepan over low heat.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 -10 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture is aromatic. Do not boil. Remove from heat.
Strain mulled wine into a large jug. Serve immediately.
We drank the mulled wine warm. The fumes are a bit intense if you breathe them in. With every sip it warms the cockles of your heart. An added plus is that your whole house will smell like a wintery Christmas.
Have you ever made mulled wine? What variations of ingredients have you tried?
This was my first mulled wine. I made this again a few weeks later while camping at Night Cap National Park and added a bit more brandy which also worked. Next time I might keep the strained orange and lemon mush and make a cake.