Warm up on the longest night of the year with a mug of fragrant mulled wine.
The June winter solstice is upon us, meaning tonight is the longest night of the year. Also known as midwinter, the astronomical phenomenon is a day to celebrate the halfway point of the season, and the sweet decent back into warmer weather.
Considering temperatures in parts of Australia dropped to near freezing this morning, this is great news!
This evening, the Southern Hemisphere is officially at its furthest point from the sun. Across Australia, daylight will begin to disappear from about 4pm (you can check the precise time for your city here).
So why not spend the long dark night ahead indoors with one of history’s most cherished winter tipples?
Mulled wine – cheap to make and simple to craft – has a rich, sweet fragrance that’s sure to soothe the chill of midwinter. The essence of the drink dates back to medieval times, conjuring up images of Vikings and candle-lit banquet halls.
However, most classic recipes seem to come from Victorian era England. Charles Dickens’ version (which features in A Christmas Carol) is called a ‘Smoking Bishop’ and included caramelised citrus.
Traditional mulled wine methods are pretty imprecise and mention a little of this and a little of that, letting you craft your concoction to your preferred level of sweet our sour.
Generally mulled wine involves steeping a fragrant mixture of cinnamon quills, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and orange peel in large saucepan of red wine. Pro tip: make sure you don’t let your mixture boil, as this will vaporize the alcohol.
These days there’s a heap of different mulled wine styles – some with a nip of brandy, others include tablespoons of honey; or chilli or ginger wine for a little buzz. There’s also a world of other European styles, including the German Glühwein, or Nordic glögg which, as you can guess, typically features a bit of vodka.
Whatever taste or style takes your fancy, tonight is definitely the night to brew a batch of delicious mulled wine.