A traditional mulled wine combines red wine with spices, a sweetener and a juice.  It is a perennial holiday favourite because it is delicious, however,  we offer a twist on tradition. Let’s swap out the baking spices for a flavour profile that is certainly more savoury but just as delicious.

alexis de portneuf cheese
Add a festive cheese board and let guests serve themselves.

Herbal Mulled Wine

It’s the classic batched cocktail of the holidays, but we replace the baking spices for warming herbs, resulting in an earthy flavour profile.  I first learned about heart-warming herbal tonics at a class at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, and I love how this mulled wine lets the herbal notes shine. 

Firstly, we have Rosemary, the star of this show. It’s a tonic for both the heart and the brain, therefore helping with both circulation and memory.  In addition, there is Pomegranate, the earthy sweetener which is also apt for this time of year, given its association with Persephone, who spent six months of every twelve in the underworld.  As we approach the winter solstice and Persephone’s descent into darkness, why not send her off with a warming glass of cheer?

4 cups pomegranate juice

1 bottle of red wine

1 whole orange sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

4 sprigs of rosemary

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs of thyme

additional sprigs of rosemary and slices of orange for garnish

Stir all the ingredients together in a large saucepan and heat just until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Turn the heat to its lowest setting and let the flavours meld for 30 minutes.  Serve in mugs and garnish with an orange slice pierced with a sprig of rosemary.

All images by Libby Roach. Always drink responsibly- know your limit- and never, ever drink and drive.