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Thursday 20 December 2012

Sluttishly Boozy: Amaretto Mulled Wine

Ah, the glorious sight of mulling
It is a truth universally acknowledged (well, by me) that amaretto added to drinks makes them 70% more exciting. It started when my friend's sister ordered an amaretto hot chocolate on a skiing holiday. My eyes were on stalks - then I tried it and proceeded to drink little else all holiday, which probably helped to make me a less wildly anxious skiier, or at least stop me immediately bursting into tears when I fell over, which was often.

Amaretto works in fizz, too: if you're looking for a more interesting twist on a Bucks Fizz, a shot of amaretto in a glass of prosecco or cava is one of the most surprisingly perfect drinks out there.

But lately, it's all about adding it to mulled wine. And for that, you need a nice base recipe. Use your usual one, or if not, enjoy the vagueries of this one which made lots of people happy at carols last Sunday.

Amaretto mulled wine: serves 4-6

You will need:
  • A bottle of red wine,  or equivalent of boxed red
  • An orange
  • Bay leaves
  • Sugar (caster or demerara)
  • Mixed spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • A bottle of amaretto
Make it!

Pour your bottle of wine into a large saucepan and heat it on a medium setting. Cut your orange in half and add to the pan - this helps to reduce the sharpness,particularly if you've used a cheap bottle of wine which, let's face it, you have, because you don't want to waste a magnificent bottle on something which is soon going to be hot and sugary.

Add three bay leaves and your sugar. After you've made enough batches of mulled wine for parties, you will no longer be bothered about measuring it, and will merrily throw it in by eye, but if you're nervy, add 60g of caster or demerara, and add more when it's all melted down if you want it sweeter. If you've got mixed spice in your cupboard, add a small shake to the stove,  about two to three teaspoons.

Cinnamon: you can use sticks, you can use powder, it really doesn't matter. The powder will all melt into the wine in any case. Scatter over enough to very finely coat the surface of the wine, or pop in two sticks.

Nutmeg: I bloody love grating nutmeg. It's probably a Little Grey Rabbit thing; I remember reading a story where she got a whole nutmeg and it was like Indiana Jones discovering the Ark. Grate over less than the cinnamon, enough to just barely coat the surface.

Then stir, until it's nice and hot. You don't want this to boil, so if it starts getting jumpy and excitable, turn down the heat slightly.

When you're happy with how it tastes or your guests start baying for wine,  pour a shot of amaretto into a mug and top with mulled wine.
  • If you want to try something different to amaretto, add a slug of sloe gin which adds a glorious richness to it
  • If the mere thought of mulled wine is affecting your work party hangover, try our gorgeous non-alcoholic drink, Respect Your Elders.


  1. As one who can vouch for Kat's mad mulling skillz, I approve this recipe and shall be serving it imminently.

  2. Try equal quantities amaretto and noilly prat over ice; it's another example of something being SO MUCH MORE than the sum of it's parts. The amaretto cancels out the harshness of the vermouth, and the vermouth tones down the icky sweetness of the amaretto. And it's all grown up ice-clinking-y but still warming in flavour. Gosh, look at the time, I think the sun is well and truly over the yard arm...

  3. One WHOLE bottle of Amaretto? Love your recipes - hic!

  4. I love that this needs a bottle of amaretto. I have no doubt that you got through the entire thing.


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