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Winter Warmers: Introducing Mulled Wine And Mulled Cider To Your Menu

There's no drink which epitomises the essence of winter better than mulled wine and cider, with their nostalgic aroma, aromatic spices and warming aftertaste. 

With several health benefits and a serious kick of seasonal flavours, this winter treat brings all the ingredients together you need to drive out the cold on those chilly evenings.

Health benefits

The timeless drink of mulled wine remains so popular that there are several interpretations on the old classic, a bit like a fairy tale. The only constant is a generous splash of wine or port, and with this brings antioxidants, several benefits to the immune system and a contribution to a healthy heart.

In this way, mulled wine and cider can act as more of a tonic, and easily adheres to anti-sugar preferences as honey becomes a handy substitute, historically used by many ancient cultures in the sweetening of wine.

Apples and pears

Even in 2014, hundreds of imported and local ciders were on offer at the inaugural Cider Australia awards, and continues to grow at around four times the rate of the wine market. This has precipitated an influx of cider and perry flavours, from the strong and cloudy to the sweet and dangerously drinkable Rekorderlig varieties.

There are a whole host of establishments in Sydney serving up a mulled cider to 'set you right on a wintry night', enough to suggest there is an emerging trend for the heated beverage even if more of a seasonal event. If you're looking to serve up a warm brew on a cold night and you think a cup of Darjeeling probably won't cut it with the locals, then a glass of warming mulled cider could be just the tipple you've been looking for. Take a quick read of our comfort food blog for some hearty menu ideas to provide the perfect accompaniment.

Necessity: The Mother Of Invention

Mulled wine reflects the evolution of an age-old tradition: preserving the life of foods by using herbs and spices, historically during voyages to explore new continents. There are many references to mulled wine in production through the 19th Century as it gained widespread appeal, but the origins are reported to be far older.The invigorating smell of this drink for many brings a warm feeling of nostalgia, but the reason for this is more scientific than you might assume. Although the human tongue has around 9,000 taste buds, the nose has between 5 and 10 million smell receptors creating a strong link between smell and memory.

Customise your blend

With mulled wine, you have the flexibility to choose your own mix of fruits, herbs and spices to conjure up the taste of winter. Some reliable ingredients include cinnamon, cloves, star anise, tangerines and clementine for extra zest. More character can be harnessed from lemons, ginger, nutmeg, raspberry and lavender, but the humble blackcurrant is one of the most generous ingredients, containing all the compounds necessary to induce those familiar fruity tones.

There is also the freedom to pick a base, from organic sweet cabernet sauvignon to oaked chardonnay.
A good port wine often provides the foundation for a winning formula but in time has become expensive compared to many table wines.

Service and Presentation

It's hard to imagine a more appropriate way to keep and serve your mulled wine than by using an industrial soup kettle. Easy to use and able to maintain the temperature of your mix at the perfect temperature, this essential piece of kit is perfect for serving soups, chilli, spiced wines and cider to your guests.

Glasses with a wide brim are best suited for serving mulled wine, making it easy to drink even with plenty of extra garnishing. Glass mugs and ceramic or porcelain mugs are also suitable for this, with a handle to protect from the heat of the glass. For example, irish coffee glasses from Arcoroc are ideal as they benefit from toughened glass, a stemmed design and wide brim.

If you're looking for something a bit special, these handled mason jar glasses are a more creative way to present your mulled wine to guests, with plenty of space in the neck for extra garnishing. You can combine with the lids for the full effect and create a talking point for your guests.

Don't forget to check in on our latest offers, and browse our extended range of disposables for all occasions

Visit us online or drop in to one of our stores for more essential catering tools and equipment to boost your business.

By Jeff Gibson

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