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Mulled wine is too good to save just for Christmas, and Bonfire Night, when you're waiting around in the cold for the fireworks to start, is surely the perfect night to make your first batch of the year. The lovely thing about starting early with mulled wine is that there are still (just!) a few blackberries around, so my recipe below starts with a blackberry and apple syrup infused with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla, to which you add a bottle of red wine and gently heat it through for a wonderful warming tipple.
This mulled wine was a perfect opportunity to road test my new OXO Good Grips corkscrew. This isn't just any corkscrew, it is a Vertical Lever Corkscrew, and perfect for people like me who are just totally inept at opening wine bottles with real corks. No more faffing with the foil, as it has a handy in-built foil cutter, and no more wrestling with crumbling corks, as the clever mechanism does all the work for you - all you need to do is press down on the lever, then pull it up again and the cork just glides out. Impressive.
(And before you send me an e-mail - yes, those are vegan marshmallows - hooray!!).
The super-duper corkscrew is in fact part of a whole new collection of barware from the fabulous folks at OXO Good Grips, which incorporates both wine goodies and cocktail-making kit.
The cocktail range includes a press-and-pour cocktail shaker with special triple-sealed lid to prevent spills, and a push-button pouring lid with integrated strainer, an angled jigger for accurately measuring your favourite spirits, a covered silicone ice cube tray, and handy steel ice tongs.
So get your sparklers ready, find some vegan marshmallows to toast, and make yourself some cockle-warming Mulled Blackberry Wine to add a little sparkle to Bonfire Night this year!
Mulled Blackberry Wine
- 350 g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 300 ml apple juice
- 50 g caster sugar
- 4 cloves
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 750 ml bottle red wine
- optional - fresh apple for garnish
- Set aside 12 of the blackberries for garnish, and place the rest in a large saucepan. Add the apple juice, caster sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick, then split open the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add both the pod and seeds to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes until reduced and starting to turn syrupy.
- Reduce the heat, pour in the red wine, then heat gently for 5 minutes until steaming, (but not bubbling).
- Strain the mulled wine through a sieve to remove the blackberry seeds, mashing any juicy bits through the mesh with a fork.
- To make some fun apple garnishes for each cup, just slice the apple very thinly, use a biscuit/pastry cutter to punch out a hole in the centre, and add to each cup along with two blackberries.
Disclosure: This recipe was commissioned by OXO Good Grips, who also sent me their new barware collection to review. There was no expectation of a positive review, and all opinions are my own.