Mad about mulled wine: What is this traditional Christmas drink?

A few years ago I was in England a few days before Christmas. It was the middle of winter, and the temperature had dropped to 3 degrees Celsius, and my whole body was as cold as a glacier.

So my husband and I stopped at a bar where we had our first mulled wine. It smelled of spices, festivities and Christmas miracles, and was hot and satiating with a delicious undercurrent that was spicy and enhanced. It also had an immediate effect of warming me to the core and revitalizing me all at once.

Throughout my European travels, I repeated this habit wherever I went, sipping mulled wine at Christmas markets in France, pubs in Switzerland, and fancy restaurants in Milan, Italy. Having found both an antidote to the bruising cold and a charming Christmas wonder, I wasn’t going to part with it anytime soon.

But what exactly is mulled wine and why is it getting so much attention in Europe around Christmas time?

Mulled wine history

Mulled wine has a long golden history, dating back to the second century when the Romans heated wine with spices to warm the body. At the time, it was called conditum paradoxum, and was made from boiled red wine with honey, spices (such as saffron and pepper) and dates. This bitter mixture was mixed with a better quality red wine for a sweeter finish.

Most mulled wines incorporate red wine, sweeteners, brandy or rum, citrus elements, and spices. — Art Chen/The StarIt is generally accepted that this was the birth of mulled wine, but Homer’s Odyssey also mentions the blending of wine and spices. More precisely, the fact that the goddess Circe fed the crew of Odysseus with wine and spices.

There is also a predecessor to mulled wine, which dates back to the ancient Greeks and was called Hippocras.

Still, it is commonly believed that the Romans spread and popularized their love of mulled wine throughout continental Europe, and as a result, mulled wine spread from England to Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, and many Eastern European countries. It is drunk up to

In England, Henry III had a reputation for being very fond of this hot drink, and the drink gained mainstream traction during the Victorian era when it was used to mask the taste of poor wine. His one of the earliest formal recipes for English mulled wine dates from her 1860s and is listed in Mrs. Beaton’s Housekeeping Book.

Known as mulled wine in Germany, its history dates back to 1420. It’s so popular at German Christmas markets that there’s even a non-alcoholic version for kids called Kinderpunsch.

In Nordic countries, a variation of mulled wine called glogg (pronounced glook) is made using red wine and aquavit, often with raisins and almonds. Traditionally, it is served in a mug with a spoon on the side to eat the raisins and nuts.

Nearly every other European country has a version of mulled wine, from Vin Chaud in France (which often contains star anise) to Glüzin wine in Poland.

relationship with christmas

Onderbeke grew up drinking mulled wine at Christmas markets in Belgium. — Art Chen/The StarOnderbeke grew up drinking mulled wine at Christmas markets in Belgium. — Art Chen/The StarFor many Europeans, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mulled wine. It’s a must-have holiday must-have at both his markets at Christmas and homes across the continent. Its intense scent appeal reminds people that Euletide season is just around the corner.

The tradition of the Christmas market itself goes back hundreds of years. For example, the first Christmas market was held in Dresden, Germany, in 1434. Germany is said to be the originator of Christmas markets, but these markets are now a holiday event in most European countries. And at nearly all of these Christmas markets, mulled wine is a staple holiday item.

“I grew up drinking mulled wine at Christmas. I don’t think they are, they just go to the Christmas markets and drink it.

“But it’s definitely a Christmas event. If you go to a Christmas market at night, you’re definitely going to have a glass of mulled wine,” says the Belgian-born cook at Soleil, a Michelin-selected European restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Chief Ebert Onderbeke says. Rumple.

Marek Krekka, on the other hand, is from the Czech Republic and is also the bar manager at Sunway Resort’s Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill. Klecka says that for him, Christmas has always been synonymous with mulled wine.

“Yes, it’s so common that it’s what I drink at Christmas to warm myself up. It basically brings back memories of Christmas for me.”

“When I walk through the Christmas market, the whole market is filled with wonderful aromas. The mulled wine is often mixed with cinnamon and star anise, and it smells very good. Walking through the market warms my heart. ” says Krekka.

In Klecka’s family, his mother also makes a ton of mulled wine for the Christmas reunion.

“My mother’s mulled wine is delicious. I think her secret is love,” he jokes.

Klecka wants to introduce mulled wine to more Malaysians and hopes it will become a Christmas staple in Malaysia. — Art Chen/The StarKlecka wants to introduce mulled wine to more Malaysians and hopes it will become a Christmas staple in Malaysia. — Art Chen/The Star

Malaysian mulled wine

In a tropical country like Malaysia, drinking any kind of hot drink, let alone hot wine, seems rather strange.

However, Malaysians are increasingly traveling and even non-travelers often visit exotic locations by proxy via internet and social media posts. This is why mulled wine is slowly gaining traction over Christmas these days.

Traditional English mulled wine from Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill. – Photo: The StarTraditional English mulled wine from Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill. – Photo: The Star“In the past, only a privileged few had access to different cuisines, but with the advent of social media, it is no longer necessary to travel to experience these things. It may have become popular.

“Accessibility is more global, so the moment a place with a good reputation does it, it creates some form of credibility. , everyone seems to be making it,” says Marcus Low, owner of local restaurant Table & Apron.

Lo has been making and selling mulled wine for Christmas at his restaurant for the past few years. However, he too has noticed this year that the appeal of his wines has risen a notch or two at the local forefront. Restaurants like Colonial Cafe at The Majestic Kuala Lumpur serve mulled wine, while restaurants like Limone offer mulled wine with unique twists like brownies. !

There is also the trickle-down effect that large or influential restaurants can have on the local dining scene. For example, at the Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill, this year Klecka will serve traditional English mulled wine. The impact may not be felt much this year, but next year other restaurants and bars could capitalize on this interest in mulled wine.

This is exactly what mulled wine aficionado Klecka hopes will happen in the future, as more and more Malaysians discover the beauty of this hot drink.

“The whole idea behind it is that I want to bring part of my hometown and part of Europe here. I think Malaysians miss a lot by not drinking it. but it’s clear that it doesn’t have the same effect as when you’re drinking it in Europe, you don’t need it in Malaysia!

“But it is about the feeling of Christmas and the warm feeling it brings. because I think,” he says.

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