From the first bit of chill in the evening air, those of us who love the cozy season pull out all the stops to make home a bit more hygge.
For wine lovers, that means donning your favorite fuzzy sweater, throwing a log on the fireplace (or plugging in your faux version) and settling in with a nice warm mug of cinnamon-scented mulled wine. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
The History of Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is an ancient beverage. An archeological dig into the tomb of early Egyptian pharaoh Scorpion I revealed he was buried with 4,500 liters of spiced wine seasoned with tree resin, figs, grapes, coriander, sage and mint. The ancient Greeks and Romans also dug mulled wine, spiking theirs with citrus fruits and spices, and may have even considered it a type of medicine.
After all, the ancient Greek mulled wine with honey and pepper was called Ypocras or Hippocras, an homage to Hippocrates, the father of medicine.
The British took to mulled wine in a big way, embracing the social aspect of sharing warm, sweet wine with friends and neighbors. Their go-to was wassail, a drink that takes its name from the Anglo Saxon toast “waes hael,” which means “be in good health” or “be well.”
In areas with orchards, farmers and townsfolk would head outside with wine seasoned with spice and honey and bless the trees to ensure a good harvest. In other parts of the U.K., Christmas carolers would be rewarded with cups of mulled wine. Eventually caroling became to be known as wassailing.
Today, nearly every culture around the globe enjoys some form of warm wine simmered with spices, sugar and fruit. Whether you call it gløgg, gluhwein, wassail or mulled wine, there’s something quite satisfying about the feeling that comes from sipping fragrant hot vino with friends.