There’s a nip in the air and decorative gourd season is almost over. It’s time for warming, festive beverages. This mulled wine recipe uses your microwave so you don’t have to babysit a simmering pot of wine for 20 minutes. And it’s a great way to put a cheaper bottle of wine to work. Don’t skip the brandy: it adds a boozy edge to the mix. The resulting spicy-sweet concoction is so tasty and easy to make that you’ll fly through that bottle of brandy in no time. One of the best parts about this recipe is that it gets tastier the longer the spices sit in it, so you can make the whole thing ahead of time, and just strain and reheat individual servings when the mood strikes.
1 750 ml bottle red wine, such as pinot noir or cabernet
½ cup honey
1 large orange, plus wedges or twists for serving
4 star anise
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving
½ cup brandy
How to Make It
Whisk together wine and honey in a large microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup.
Using a Y-shaped peeler, remove 1-inch strips of zest from the orange. Add zest to wine mixture. Halve the orange, and squeeze juice into the bowl. Add star anise, allspice, cloves, peppercorns, and 2 cinnamon sticks.
Microwave on high, until hot but not boiling, 2½ to 3 minutes. Set aside to steep, 15 minutes. Stir in brandy. Strain into mugs and top with a cinnamon stick and an orange wedge or twist. Reheat individual mugs on high until hot, 30 seconds or as needed.
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