This Low-ABV Basque Wine Needs Place on Your Holiday Table

If you’re looking to switch up your usual Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, there’s a lesser-known, super versatile white varietal that belongs on your table: Txakoli. Pronounced “cha-ko-lee” (and sometimes called “chacoli” or “txakolina”), this Basque …

If you’re looking to switch up your usual Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, there’s a lesser-known, super versatile white varietal that belongs on your table: Txakoli. Pronounced “cha-ko-lee” (and sometimes called “chacoli” or “txakolina”), this Basque wine is light on alcohol, delicate in flavor, and can be enjoyed before, during, and after a meal.

My first encounter with Txakoli was in the Spanish seaside town of San Sebastian, where my husband and I found ourselves on our first pintxos crawl. We asked the bartender for a recommendation to go with the array of small bites we had chosen, and without hesitation, he pulled out a slender green bottle from a bucket of ice, held it high overhead, and poured the wine into two glass tumblers with a flourish. Bright, with plenty of acidity, and slightly effervescent on the tongue, it was a perfect accompaniment to nearly every dish, from garlicky shrimp to jamon iberico. Because of its versatility (and the great memories it brings of these bars in San Sebastian), Txakoli has been in regular rotation at my house ever since.

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The Best Nonalcoholic Wines to Serve at Thanksgiving

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner has a reputation for being particularly challenging to successfully pair with wine, but finding a nonalcoholic accompaniment that works with white and dark meat turkey, half a dozen (or more!) sides, and heavily spic…

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner has a reputation for being particularly challenging to successfully pair with wine, but finding a nonalcoholic accompaniment that works with white and dark meat turkey, half a dozen (or more!) sides, and heavily spiced desserts used to be all but impossible. Until recently, the only wineglass-appropriate beverages for nondrinkers were sparkling apple ciders. While there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned bottle of Martinelli’s, it’s just too sweet to bring out the best in herbed stuffing, tart cranberry sauce, and cinnamon-spiced pies. Luckily, there are now plenty of sophisticated nonalcoholic wine alternatives, from those that try to directly emulate wines, to more adventurous flavor combinations beyond a winemaker’s wildest dreams! For something a bit more grown-up than what you used to drink at the kid’s table, there are now zero-proof options to satisfy any palate.

Sparkling Alternatives

In general, dealcoholized wines are horribly disappointing, even those made by actual winemakers. Many have flummoxing rave reviews and taste like expensive bottles of too-sweet grape juice to me. Dealcoholized sparkling, however, is the exception that proves the rule. Among wine drinkers, the easiest pairing that will get you from the first hors d’oeuvres to the last bite of pumpkin pie is a good, dry sparkling, and there are some excellent zero-proof options.

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Chanceux

The other day, for some reason, the subject about the “decline of French cuisine” which had been much-discussed and debated about subject a decade ago, came up. At the time, books were written about it, a Time magazine cover featured a sad mime bemoaning the end of French culture, newspapers wrote articles bemoaning faltering bistros and wondering ‘‘Who could save French cuisine?’, and French television…

The other day, for some reason, the subject about the “decline of French cuisine” which had been much-discussed and debated about subject a decade ago, came up. At the time, books were written about it, a Time magazine cover featured a sad mime bemoaning the end of French culture, newspapers wrote articles bemoaning faltering bistros and wondering ‘‘Who could save French cuisine?’, and French television reporters rifled through the garbage of esteemed bistros and restaurants to show empty packages of pre-prepared and frozen foods that likely had been served to customers. The future of French cuisine was a subject of international interest.

People asked me to chime in on it, too. It was a rather loaded subject because there were a lot of issues surrounding any “decline,” but it was also hard to define – “What is French cuisine?” Yes, it’s Duck confit, Hachis Parmentier, œufs mayonnaise, éclairs, and Paris-Brest, but the new generation of cooks began recasting the focus of food in France, putting the quality and diversity of the ingredients first, and supporting local producers while taking cues from the various regions and cultures in France (which has always been the foundation of French cooking), rather than sticking to a codified script.

So I was excited when Chanceux opened in my neighborhood recently. I’d met Thomas Lehoux a few years ago, and featured him in Drinking French because he decided to improve the reputation of French coffee (another hotly-contested issue) and opened Belleville Brûlerie, a small-scale coffee roasting company that he founded in Paris with his business partners.

Continue Reading Chanceux...

A Glistening Glazed Ham for the Holidays (& Lots of Good Leftovers)

We’ve partnered with Imagery Wine Collection—a portfolio of unique, artistically inspired wines—to share a showstopping holiday main from Adrianna Guevara Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen, plus her favorite way to repurpose the leftovers (hint: brunch is invol…

We’ve partnered with Imagery Wine Collection—a portfolio of unique, artistically inspired wines—to share a showstopping holiday main from Adrianna Guevara Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen, plus her favorite way to repurpose the leftovers (hint: brunch is involved).


One of the easiest ways to impress your guests at any holiday meal—besides having a few great bottles of wine on the table, like the ones from Imagery Wine Collection—is with a giant, golden-brown baked ham. It’s a nice detour from the classic turkey, plus there’s no dry meat and you won’t have to worry about anybody fighting over a certain part of the bird. It also makes way better leftovers, if you ask me.

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2 Thanksgiving-Ready Menus That Pair Perfectly With Wine

We’ve teamed up with Erath Winery—known for their critically acclaimed Oregon wines—to share food-and-wine pairing ideas perfect for the fall season. Thanksgiving’s almost here, so we’ve cooked up two holiday-ready menus, including our favorite wines f…

We've teamed up with Erath Winery—known for their critically acclaimed Oregon wines—to share food-and-wine pairing ideas perfect for the fall season. Thanksgiving's almost here, so we've cooked up two holiday-ready menus, including our favorite wines from Erath Winery to sip alongside 'em.


While I'm always happy to sip whatever wine is being poured at the dinner table—especially if I'm a guest at someone else's house—when it comes down to it, I've definitely got my favorites. During the summer, it's rosé all the way, especially something dry with notes of tart fruit and a fresh acidity. But once the cooler weather rolls in, I say goodbye to rosé for the season and dive in to my favorite red wines.

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16 Best Wine Subscriptions, Based on 40 Taste Tests

There are thousands of wine subscriptions and clubs all around the United States, all making various promises of having the best wine. But to determine the quality and value of what they’re selling takes an understanding of the fine print, years of exp…

There are thousands of wine subscriptions and clubs all around the United States, all making various promises of having the best wine. But to determine the quality and value of what they’re selling takes an understanding of the fine print, years of experience, and lots of taste testing—all of which we did to find the best wine subscriptions.

We researched dozens of wine subscriptions, went through various signup processes, waited (im)patiently for well-padded boxes, and ultimately tested almost 40 bottles of red, white, orange, sparkling, and more. (Yes, we drank and wasted an intimidating amount of wine, with regrets).

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7 Recipes to See You Through the Changing Seasons

We’ve teamed up with Erath Winery—known for their critically acclaimed Oregon wines—to share cooking inspiration for the changing seasons. On the menu: light yet comforting dishes to ease you into the cooler weather, plus the best wines to pair ’em wit…

We've teamed up with Erath Winery—known for their critically acclaimed Oregon wines—to share cooking inspiration for the changing seasons. On the menu: light yet comforting dishes to ease you into the cooler weather, plus the best wines to pair 'em with.


While most people are sad to see summer go, I welcome its departure every year. (Farewell, 90 percent humidity and sweating through my T-shirt; I will not miss you.) Fall is my season—and my favorite time of year to cook.

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Mulled Wine

This mulled wine recipe is easy and classic, starring a bold red, mulling spices, brandy and orange. The ideal cozy…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This mulled wine recipe is easy and classic, starring a bold red, mulling spices, brandy and orange. The ideal cozy drink for a crowd!

Mulled wine

When the first chill starts to fill the air, it’s time for cozy drink season! What better way to start the fun than a great Mulled Wine? Make up a big pot, and it fills your kitchen with an intoxicating aroma of toasted allspice and cinnamon. This recipe is just sweet enough, balancing the bold fruity wine with mulling spices, citrus, and oak and vanilla notes on the finish. It’s truly stunning: a classic recipe for all your fall and winter occasions!

What is mulled wine?

Mulled wine is wine that’s heated with spices. It’s typically served in the fall and winter, especially around Christmastime. The first recorded spiced wine recipe was in Rome in the 2nd Century AD! Today it’s very popular in the UK and across Europe, as well as the US. It’s called Glühwein in German-speaking countries and Glögg in Nordic countries.

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine spices

Mulled wine is made with mulling spices, which infuse the entire drink with that signature cozy flavor. (The same style of spices are used in Mulled Cider.) Typically a mulled wine is simmered with whole spices instead of ground, so the flavor infuses into the wine instead of making it cloudy. There are lots of variations on the spices depending on your country and tradition. Common mulled wine spices include:

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Allspice berries
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Star anise

Star anise is the most unique of these mulled wine spices: it’s a star-shaped seed pod. It’s available at most grocery stores, but you can also buy star anise online.

Mulled wine spices

How to make mulled wine: stovetop, slow cooker or Instant Pot

You can make mulled wine using various methods: our favorite is the stovetop because it’s quick and easy! But if you’re serving a crowd at a party, a slow cooker or Instant Pot are great options. Here are the three methods of how to make mulled wine:

  • Stovetop method: The quickest method, at only 30 minutes! Just make sure it stays on the lowest warming setting: it shouldn’t even come to a simmer (otherwise the liquid reduces too much).
  • Slow cooker method: This method takes 2 hours and is great for parties! You can leave it on the warm setting and serve it right out of the Crock Pot.
  • Instant Pot method: Use this version if you have a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker!
Mulled wine

Tips to the best mulled wine recipe

A good mulled wine is one thing: but a truly great mulled wine has a few tricks to take the flavor over the top! Here’s are a few tips for how to make the best version of this drink:

  • Toast the spices first. Toasting the spices for a few minutes in the pot or a skillet helps to release even more of their flavor during the simmering time. Plus, it makes your kitchen smell incredible!
  • Simmer very low. You barely want it to be bubbling. If it’s too high, the liquid will reduce and get too thick.
  • Add brandy and orange juice at the end. Do this instead of simmering them with the wine. It brings in major oak, vanilla and citrus notes to the finish of each sip.

Make a double recipe for party size

This mulled wine recipe uses one 750 ml bottle of wine, and makes enough for 6 servings of ¾ cup each. Serving a crowd? We’d recommend grabbing two bottles of wine and doubling this recipe. A doubled or even tripled recipe would fit in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot. Use the 2x button in the recipe below for easy doubling.

Mulled Wine recipe

More winter drinks

Mulled wine is one of our top winter cocktails and hot alcoholic drinks! Here are a few more that always hit the spot:

This mulled wine recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 drinks
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This mulled wine recipe is easy and classic, starring a bold red, mulling spices, brandy and orange. The ideal cozy drink for a crowd!


Ingredients

  • 10 allspice berries
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine*
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup brandy or Cognac
  • 1 small orange, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Toast the spices: Add the spices to the bottom of a pot (or to a skillet for Slow Cooker or Instant Pot). Toast over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Stovetop cooking instructions: Turn the heat to low. Add the water, then pour in the wine and maple syrup and stir. Warm for 30 minutes on low heat, just barely bubbling. Do not let the wine come to a full simmer (or the liquid will reduce too much).
  3. Slow Cooker & Instant Pot instructions: Place the wine, water and maple syrup in the slow cooker or Instant Pot (pressure cooker) with the toasted spices. Cook on low for 2 hours or Normal using the Instant Pot “Slow Cooker” setting.
  4. Add brandy and orange juice: When ready to serve, stir in the brandy or Cognac and the juice from 1 orange. Garnish with orange slices and if desired, rosemary sprigs. 

Notes

*Double the recipe for a party: for the Slow Cooker and Instant Pot it’s nice to have the doubled quantities. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Drink

Keywords: Mulled wine, mulled wine recipe, how to make mulled wine, mulled wine spices

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

The Best White Wine to Drink Right Now

As we move into fall, it’s hard to say goodbye to the crisp, light-bodied whites in condensation-frosted glasses, or the sharp and grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, or the Sancerres with their notes of citrus and minerality, a perfect match for seaf…

As we move into fall, it’s hard to say goodbye to the crisp, light-bodied whites in condensation-frosted glasses, or the sharp and grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, or the Sancerres with their notes of citrus and minerality, a perfect match for seafood. For such moments, there’s Bordeaux Blanc, or White Bordeaux, a wine-insider’s secret that bridges the seasons, because it’s most often a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (crispness, summer) and a grape called Sémillon, which has more richness and mouthfeel (coziness, fall).

Bordeaux, to most anyone, including wine people, is red, a high-end blend that can include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, and it tends to come at collector’s prices. Bordeaux Blanc, made from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and sometimes Muscadelle, is lesser-known because it makes up only 7 to 8 percent of the region’s output. However, savvy buyers, including many restaurant professionals, choose Bourdeaux Blanc because it’s usually available at a lower price than the reds from Bordeaux, allowing for a taste of a storied region at a good value. It’s also on the forward edge of a trend: Blends are the second-biggest category in red wine sales at the moment—a juggernaut that some would say has been inspired by the skill of the Bordelais in blending their reds—and industry professionals expect white blends to be next. White blends from the master blenders in Bordeaux, then, are ahead of the curve, and are newly sought-after.

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Yes, There Are Sparkling Red Wines That Taste Good

When I was in college I had a roommate whom I loved dearly, but who had incredibly different taste from me. I whipped cream by hand while she bought a tub of Cool Whip. I drank red wine while she drank fruity vodka concoctions whose names shouldn&rsquo…

When I was in college I had a roommate whom I loved dearly, but who had incredibly different taste from me. I whipped cream by hand while she bought a tub of Cool Whip. I drank red wine while she drank fruity vodka concoctions whose names shouldn’t be repeated in polite company.  

So, when one day she brought home a bottle of sparkling red wine that she was over the moon about, I was skeptical. Plus, red wine isn’t supposed to be fizzy, right?  

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