Mulled wine originated in the 2nd century by the Romans who would heat wine to defend their bodies against the cold winter. As its popularity continued to grow throughout the middle ages, Europeans would mix heated wine with spices because they believed it would promote health and avoid sickness. They would also use herbs and flowers as natural sweeteners to make unpalatable wines taste a lot nicer.
Over time, the craze for mulled wine faded across most of Europe except for Sweden, where its popularity only increased. Claret (Rhen wine, sugar, honey and spices) and Lutendrank (various spices, wine and milk) were just two of the variations that the Swedish monarchy made famous over the coming centuries.
As more alternatives developed over time, recipe books started using the collective name glögg, first mentioned in 1609. The big turning point came in the 1890s, when glögg became associated with Christmas. Every wine merchant across the country had their own unique recipe to share. Over time, these unique bottles (most depicting Santa Claus) were distributed throughout the rest of Europe – uprooting the long forgotten mulled wine in a new festive light.
Our bourbon of choice for this is Four Roses Yellow Label. The hints of apple and pear in this batched bourbon stand up beautifully with the red wine.
6 oz Full Bodied Red Wine
1/2 oz Bourbon
1 oz 7 Syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a footed glass mug. Stir and microwave to desired temperature. Garnish with lemon and orange wedges. This is also great batched in a crock pot. Just mix 1 bottle of red wine, 1/2 cup of brandy, 2 or 3 oz 7 syrup, and 2 oz of lemon juice. Set the pot on low and enjoy throughout the evening.