Covid-19 may have put a dampener on the Christmas season again this year in many countries but that's no reason not to indulge in a seasonal punch or mulled wine at home. However, connoisseurs should definitely avoid ready-made mulled wine, which is usually too sweet, spiked with artificial flavours and mushy fruit that has been stewed beyond recognition. Instead, follow our tips for preparing the perfect Gluhwein or punch yourself.
What goes together, goes together: this means that you should choose flavours that harmonise with each other. Red wine, for example, goes well with berries of all kinds, while white wine goes well with apples.
The most common way of preparing punch is with black tea. However, it is worth trying out other varieties like green or rooibos/red bush tea.
Which wine should go in?
Here the rule is: nothing comes from nothing. We hate to disappoint anyone who thinks they can use last year's old booze for mulled wine but good mulled wine needs a good wine as a base. We're not saying that you have to boil down your Mouton Rothschild, but you should still pay attention to quality. The general rule for mulled wine is: choose a wine that is fruit-driven, low in tannins and acidity, such as a rounded Merlot that hasn't been aged in a barrique barrel or a fruity Austrian Zweigelt.
Freshness is key
Make sure you always use fresh fruit and spices. If you have to use ready-made spice mixtures, make sure they are fresh and of good quality.
Please, not bitter!
The longer the better.... That doesn't apply to punch or mulled wine! If spices such as cloves or cinnamon remain in the liquid for too long, it becomes bitter. If you want to save yourself the trouble of picking out the individual cloves and spices from the punch, use disposable paper filters. This way, the spices can be removed in good time and with a flick of the wrist after being left to infuse.
Be careful when using citrus fruits or their peel. The white part of the skin becomes bitter very easily, so it is best to tear zests from the peel and fillet the fruit. You should only use organic fruit for the zests. According to a recent study, peels of non-organic oranges and lemons are contaminated by a veritable mix of pesticides.
Although punch and mulled wine should be hot, they must never be allowed to boil. If that happens the aromas evaporate along with the alcohol.
Not too much
Punch and mulled wine should be enjoyed in moderation, not only because of their alcohol content but the amount of sugar they contain mean that they are real calorie bombs.
Not just a drink
Mulled wine and punch also perform well look out of a cup. For example, in a mulled wine cake or in mulled wine muffins.
If there is any punch left over, don't throw it away. Cold mulled wine or punch can be used as an aromatic base for Christmas cocktails. Just give it a try!
Punch: An alcoholic mixed drink, usually drunk hot, that originated in India and was traditionally made there from five ingredients arrack, sugar, lemons, tea or water and spices.
Gluhwein or mulled wine: The spiced wine has a long tradition dating back to ancient times and the Middle Ages. Red or white wine is mixed with spices and sugar according to taste.
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