As many of you know, I’ve recently taken a part-time job at Lost Creek winery, a boutique vineyard and winery in Northern Virginia. Ironically, I went to Lost Creek last year (and blogged about it here). We now have new owners who have this incredible vision for the winery and have plans to make it more upscale and elegant with more sophisticated wines (like an oaked Chardonnay and a dry Vidal I’m super stoked about!) Stay up to date on the winery’s transformation by visiting our Facebook page!
If you follow any of my social media handles (FB, Twitter or Instagram) you know I’m a slight…wine-o, so this job is a bit of a dream for me. In addition to working in the tasting room, I’ve also taken on the task of creating unique recipes using the wines we have. My first challenge was to create an easy mulled wine recipe using one of our dessert wines, Courtney’s Christmas.
Courtney’s Christmas is a dessert/speciality wine that is made from FIVE of the grapes we grow on property; Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. What makes this dessert wine such a great seller for us is the fact that it’s sweet, but not syrupy. When I’m giving my tasting room spiel, I just tell the guest this: “It tastes like Christmas in a bottle.” In addition to the five grapes, it also has hints of cranberry and clove! It has all the flavors of Christmas you love without the ones you don’t (no pine tree flavor, hurrah!) Because it’s so full bodied, I get like 10 questions a day asking how it could be mulled. So, I took home a few bottles and mulled a big batch!
Because it’s a dessert wine, it’s pretty sweet to begin with. So, instead of adding a ton of sugar like you normally do for mulled wines, I added just 2 tablespoons of honey to compliment the flavors. Also, when you mull this particular wine, it loses about 1/3 of its sweetness so you’re left with the delicious flavor of each grape and the cranberry and spice aftertone .
Another way I played up the natural spices in the wine was to add about 3 tablespoons of spiced rum. I used Captain Morgan but you can use whatever rum you have on hand. You can also use bourbon which will add a phenomenal smokiness to it! I don’t mind the wine cold but warmed it’s one of my new favorites. This is the perfect drink to serve on Christmas, New Years or just to enjoy on a random Wednesday night by the fire.
Now, I know many of you don’t have access to this particular wine so in its place, sub in your favorite red wine (see instructions below). However, if you get the chance, come to Northern Virginia, stop at Lost Creek (check out our FB page or Twitter for more info), get a tasting from yours truly and take home a bottle of Courtney’s to mull. Trust me, it’s worth the trip.
Easy Mulled Wine Recipe
Serves about 4.
Prep time: >5 minutes
Cook/heat time: 15 – 20 minutes
- 3 bottles Courtney’s Christmas wine (or 2 bottles dry red)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup spiced rum
- 1 orange, sliced
- About 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pour wine, rum and honey into a medium size pot. Add cinnamon stick, orange slices and ginger. Heat mixture on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to mix the wine up. Once the wine is steaming and the honey had dissolved, remove from the pot and serve into a pitcher.
- Serve immediately with extra orange slices and some fresh cranberries for garnish.
*IF you don’t have access to Courtney’s Christmas, sub in two bottles of your favorite dry red, 1/3 cup sugar, about 6 cloves and 1/4 cup rum along with the oranges, cinnamon stick and ginger. Heat the same way.