Mulling is a centuries-old practice, dating back to Roman antiquity, in which various spices and fruit essences are infused into heated wines, juices, or ciders. The recipe for using these spices may vary somewhat, but in general can include allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and various dried fruit peels.
“We love the combination of a fuller-bodied sweeter wine, like our Concord, with bold spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, for a well-balanced wine.” ~ Mike Conti, General Manager, New Hope Winery
The word “mulling” comes from the Old English word for “muddled” and is thought to derive from the confused state brought about by the consumption of alcohol with the spices. The popular phrase “mulling it over” (meaning to consider an idea carefully) is most likely derived from the slow and deliberate process of creating mulled beverages. In Elizabethan times, mulled drinks were used for medicinal purposes. Nutmeg for example, was believed to ward off the plague.
It was Charles Dickens, in his vivid portrayals of Victorian-era England, who popularized mulled wine into a traditional holiday drink. A mulled wine, punch known as a Smoking Bishop, is mentioned in his timeless holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.
In Food and Cooking in Victorian England – A History, author Andrea Broomfield reviews the history of the sweetly spiced wine beverage. “Its whimsical name recalled its medieval origins when it was sometimes served at guildhalls and university banquets in bowls that resembled a bishop’s miter.”
New Hope Winery offers two delightful mulled wine options:
- Dutch Apple Spice wine is a sweet apple wine enhanced with cinnamon and spice flavors. An autumn classic, it can be served chilled, room temperature, or warmed (which is how it is sampled in our tasting room.)
- Holiday Spice wine is a rich and intensely fruity red wine, enhanced with natural mulled spice flavors. Serve warm to achieve the ultimate “cozy” experience!
Stop by New Hope Winery any day of the week, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, and sample our mulled seasonal classics. Our wines may not be served from a bowl resembling a bishop’s miter, it is nonetheless warm, toasty, and deliciously satisfying.