Exploring The History Of Mulled Wine

The countdown to Christmas has now started. There’s nothing better than relaxing with mulled wine a drink that’ll warm you up on even the coldest of winter nights, over the holiday season. If you’re a fan of this classic treat, keep reading, as Ideal Wine Company explores the history of mulled wine.

Back in antiquity

Mulled wine, a delicious drink comprised of wine and spices, has been around since antiquity. The concoction, according Vinepair, first became popular in Ancient Greece. They began mixing spices into leftover wine and heating it up, to prevent waste. The Greeks christened their creation “hippocras” after Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine himself, in recognition of the drink’s health qualities.

The Romans were known for modelling their society on Ancient Greek customs. This prompted them to adopt mulled wine as their own. The Romans altered the old Greek recipe, often including honey, pepper, bay leaf, saffron and dates to the traditional cheap wine, cloves, cinnamon and citrus. A version of Roman of this drink, called “Conditum Paradoxum,” is still sold around the world today.

Mulled wine today

The popularity of mulled wine really grew in Europe during the medieval period. It became especially prevalent during the Black Death when people believed that spices held serious medicinal properties. At this time the quality of wine in Europe was poor, so adding spices improved the taste. During the 17th Century, people started using the word ‘mull,’ meaning “to heat, sweeten, and flavour (wine) with spices.”

Over time, mulled wine became part of the fabric of society, becoming especially popular in England. Modern perceptions of mulled wine originate from Victorian England. This society was notably conservative, seeing abstinence as a virtue. However, it was a popular drink for the holiday season in Victorian times. This trend has continued throughout British society to this day.

In modern times, mulled wine is often made with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and red wine. A dash of Port or brandy is typically thrown in. Some people stick to making this drink with a cheap bottle, but we would strongly advise against this. Opt for a luxury wine instead, so the rich, complex characters of these outstanding products can heighten the flavour profile of mulled wine, adding new depths.

Buying wine online

If you’re looking for a standout vintage for mulled wine, you might want to think about buying wine online with specialist retailers such as the Ideal Wine Company. We feature a vast range of stunning reds from regions all over the world, such as the Chateau Margaux 1993. A complex, delicious Bordeaux red, you can purchase this amazing Chateau Margaux from Ideal Wine Company for £384!