This Is The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Mulled Wine

We were thinking about keeping this really short by just saying, "The biggest mistake you're making with mulled wine is drinking it." But then we thought better of it. Sure, mulled wine is not everyone's cup of tea, although it is often served in a ceramic cup at about the same temperature as hot tea. Even so, mulled wine is beloved by some because it is one of those traditional beverages that sort of screams "holidays" at you, with all those unusual spices and weird blends of alcohols that you won't use any other time of the year. To be honest, it almost makes us yearn for the summer holidays, when we bring a case of beer to the fireworks display and call it good.

When it comes to the holiday season, you have your eggnog people, who prefer a sort of liquid custard with maybe nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon, spiked with anything from tequila to bourbon. Then you have your mulled wine people, who prefer something akin to fermented fruitcake — a wine-based beverage with sugar, citrus, and spices. We've got you covered elsewhere if you want to know how to make the best eggnog. But if you're looking to avoid some of the biggest mistakes while making mulled wine, read on.

Don't boil mulled wine, and don't overspice it

There's no limit to the varieties of mulled wine you can make. It's an opportunity to get creative with spices and alcohol choices. The main ingredient is usually red wine, but you can also use a white or cider, too, according to Matching Food & Wine. You can booze up your mulled wine with port, brandy, or sloe gin — or something orangey such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier. For spice, add cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, or maybe a little star anise. Go wild, but not too wild. Too wild means you've probably messed up your mulled wine.

The various mistakes you can make with mulled wine come down to two big ones. One is boiling your mulled wine. Yes, the wine does need to sit in a heated pot with the other ingredients for a good, long time, so all the flavors infuse, but if you let mulled wine boil, you'll bring out an unpleasant bitter taste. So watch that pot.

The other big mistake? Too much spice. As The Baltimore Sun puts it, you might be tempted to empty your spice rack to make a really flavorful mulled wine. This should be considered an urge worth resisting. The idea is to highlight the wine's flavor, not bury it.

The Baltimore Sun broke it down nicely: When making mulled wine, write this on the back of one hand: "No cooking the vino." On the other hand, write, "Be subtle with the spices."