Historians believe it was the Romans — per usual with hooch archives — that first recorded spicing and heating their wine for the winter as early as the second century B.C. The medieval English cookbook “The Forme of Cury” explains this phenomenon of mulled wine, or “ypocras,” as grinding together specific spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, then mixing with sugar and red wine over heat. Voila: a time-honored consumable classic, beloved by the likes of Charles Dickens and celebrity chef Ina Garten.
Mulled wine has been a wintertime tradition for literal centuries for good reason, warming from the inside out and emptying the spice cabinet at the same time. In this basic recipe modified from Portland’s Thelonious Wines, sommelier Alex Marchesini recommends using a fuller-bodied and jammy red wine, a flavor profile that can fill out the spice characteristics without breaking the bank, considering you are cooking the juice. If you’d rather have all the spices compiled for you, Seattle’s World Spice sells an original blend for mulled wine success.