English speakers may be wondering just what on Earth Vin Brule wine actually is, but they will soon recognise it when the term mulled wine is used. Yes, the famous Christmas wine actually traces its roots back all the way to the days of the ancient Greeks and is called something completely different over in Italy.
Vin Brule is a term for mulled wine that finds its origins in Piedmont, that most famous of wine regions that also gives us Barolo and a host of other wonderful red wines. It has been made in the region, and throughout the whole of Italy, for many years. However, the tradition of spicing wine, as has already been mentioned, goes back to the days of the Ancient Greeks.
Specifically, it is a wine called hippocras that is believed to be the precursor to the modern Vin Brule that we know today. However, if it wasn’t for the Italians, the entire concept of spiced wine would have fallen by the wayside, as it was in Italian monasteries that the drink managed to survive during a period when the Italian wine industry was enormously restricted. Eventually, as the wine’s reputation grew, it began to be adopted in other countries, becoming particularly popular in Victorian-era England.
Today it is enjoyed in many Western countries, including Italy, England and the United States. There are also many different recipes that have been created for the wine during that time and it is important to note that there are differences in the methods used by the Italians and those used by people in the USA and UK. Here we will take a look at a couple of the recipes that you could use in order to create some for yourself.
Recipe Number 1 – The USA/UK Method
This recipe will examine the wine that is more traditionally known as Mulled Wine, rather than Vin Brule. This is the type that is often created by people in the USA and UK, with the main difference being the fact that it is not brought to the boiling point while Italian Vin Brule.
- A pair of bottles of red wine. Any will do, so it may be worth using something a little cheaper.
- Approximately one cup of sugar, though this can be adjusted if you want the wine to taste sweeter.
- One lemon.
- Eight cloves.
- One Orange
- A couple of sticks of nutmeg.
- 1 Star Anise
- Some nutmeg.
Making The Wine
Of course, having your ingredients in hand is one thing, but actually making the wine itself is an entirely different proposition. Here we will run through the steps that you need to follow in order to make the USA/UK variant of mulled wine.
- Peel the skins away from both the orange and the lemon.
- Mix up the skins with the spices and sugar that you have, placing it in a saucepan.
- Add some of your red wine to the saucepan, using just enough to cover the sugar.
- Heat the saucepan so that your mixture reaches the boils, constantly stirring along the way. You should find that it takes on the consistency of syrup.
- Once you have reached this point, you can add the rest of the wine to the saucepan.
- Reduce the heat so that you do not keep it at the boil. Boiling will lead to some of the wine being evaporated.
- Maintain a warm temperature and use a ladle to serve portions of the wine to your guests, directly from the saucepan.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast recipe, so you may want to experiment a little bit by adding different types of fruit peel or using a few different spices. However, this should at least get you started with one type of Vin Brule.
Recipe Number 2 – The Italian Method
Of course, seeing as you’re on an Italian wine website it is only natural that we look at the Italian method of creating Vin Brule as well. The key difference here is that you will be bringing your mixture to the boil, instead of simply heating it up, but there are also a couple of other steps you will need to follow.
- A single litre of red wine. Again, any decent red will do, so don’t spend too much on the bottle.
- Eight cloves.
- A pair of cinnamon sticks.
- One orange.
- One lemon.
- 200g of sugar.
Making The Wine
You will note that these ingredients are practically the same as the ones you used for the USA/UK version of the wine. The key differences will come in the care you take when preparing.
- Peel the skin from both the lemon and the orange, taking a little time to remove all of the white parts of the skin as these can lend the wine a certain bitterness.
- Place all of your ingredients into a saucepan, mixing them all together and then covering them with the entire litre of wine.
- Head the mixture up and stir occasionally using a wooden spoon. You need to make sure that the sugar dissolves entirely, so make sure to stir.
- Once the mixture comes to the boil you should start noticing the alcohol vapours forming. This is the key difference between the Italian and USA/UK versions.
- When you identify the vapours, take a long toothpick and carefully light a flame on the surface of the mixture.
- Allow the flame to burn for as long as it needs to. When it goes out, your Vin Brule is ready to serve.
- Filter the mixture through a colander to remove any bittiness and then serve while still hot.
The Final Word
So there you have it, two recipes for Vin Brule that should be suitable for all tastes. Why not take a little bit of time this Christmas to give these wonderful spiced wines a try? We are sure you won’t be disappointed. Of course, you can grab the bottles of red wine that you will need from our online store, so happy cooking!