I interrupt Paris week with an important seasonal recipe. December is the month of the mulled wine apero. The warmth, the smell of Christmas, the spices, nothing could be better on cold, dark evenings. It also goes exceptionally well with mince pies. In France it is known as Vin Chaud, and we have enjoyed many a glass whilst wandering the Christmas markets. I have been asked for my recipe, so here goes, but it is a bit fluid and that has nothing to do with how much I have drunk.
There are four main ingredients: Wine, Spices, Sugar and Cognac. Put one bottle of red wine in a saucepan; add the zest and juice of a Clementine, a small pinch of cloves (about 7), a teaspoon of cinnamon (or a piece of cinnamon stick) and we also always add a lemon and ginger tea bag. Give it a good stir then add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a small glass of Cognac. When it has heated but not reached boiling point and the sugar has dissolved, try it. When inhaling over the pan you should get a Christmassy tingle in your sinuses. It should also be a balanced taste between spicy and sweet. If it isn’t sweet enough or spicy enough keep adding until it tastes just right for you. It often needs more sugar.
During December we make a batch on a Sunday evening and reheat a glass at a time during the week. Happy Christmas apero time to you all.