I’m not convinced, as I’ve already mentioned, about alcohol-free wine—if you’re a wine drinker, it really doesn’t cut the mustard, but it does make a decent mulled wine, so much so that I found myself thinking when I first made this that I shouldn’t really have a glass before I went out to dinner, before I remembered it was alcohol-free. The key is to add elderberry juice to give the drink body, but it is quite bitter, so you do need to add sugar (I like brown sugar) to taste.
Serves 6 to 8
- 8 cloves
- 2 unwaxed oranges
- 1 (25.4-ounce) bottle alcohol-free red wine (I used Rawson’s Retreat Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 11 ounces elderberry juice (Biona is a good brand)
- 2/3 cup (4 1/2 ounces) soft brown sugar
- Cinnamon stick
- Orange oil or orange bitters (optional)
Stick the cloves into the rind of one orange. Pour the alcohol-free wine and elderberry juice into a small to medium saucepan (you want the liquid to cover the orange); add sugar, the cinnamon stick, and 2–3 drops of orange oil or a shake of orange bitters; and bring slowly up to simmering point over a low heat without letting it boil. Take off the heat and leave for 30 minutes to infuse.
To serve, reheat the mulled “wine.” Slice the remaining orange and place a slice into six to eight small cups or heatproof glasses. Pour over the hot mulled “wine” and serve.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “How to Drink Without Drinking: Celebratory Alcohol-Free Drinks for Any Time of the Day” by Fiona Beckett. Published by Kyle Books.