A minute under pressure is all it takes to infuse wine with fruit and spices – then serve or keep it warm for a party.
Mulled wine is the perfect winter’s drink for a festive party or cozy get-together.
My husband spent many snowy winters as a young man in Trento’s Italian alps wrapped in his wool sweater and huddled with his friends in the glowing lights of a crackling fire playing chess and sipping Vin Brule’ (Mulled wine in Italian). So he was really excited to hear that I would work on coaxing his favorite winter drink from the pressure cooker. He shared his memories to re-create his favorite recipe which had a deep berry flavor brightened with apples.
My memories of Glühwein (Mulled wine in German) don’t go as far back, nor are nearly as romantic as his – as I first sipped it from a plastic cup strolling through Graz’s outdoor Christmas Market with Ada in the stroller wrapped in a sheepskin burrito and Vito, a Christmas star, toddling behind in a snowsuit so thick he couldn’t bend his arms or legs. The Austrian platz (plaza/square) had its snow pushed aside to accommodate miniature wooden houses illuminated with strings of lights snaking around hand-made crafts and ornaments. Oh, what a pleasure to hold that hot cup between my gloves and bring it up to warm my nose and, when it was finally cool enough, an absolute delight to sip. The mulled wine was tart and sweet at the same time with a kaleidoscope of spices dancing on my taste buds. Similar to a warm apple cider, but more decisive and rich.
Doubling, Tripling & Recipe Notes
This recipe will serve 12, but you can increase it for more you can double it (4 bottles of wine), or 2.5-it (5 bottles of wine) for a 6L/qt pressure cooker. For an 8L/qt cooker, you can triple it (6 bottles of wine) or 3.5-it (7 bottles of wine).
Since the spices in this recipe are divisible by three, and not two, when adding another bottle of wine (half recipe), err on the side of more, and not fewer spices.
Don’t use Natural Release, it makes the mulled wine bitter and un-drinkable by keeping the alcohol from evaporating. Natural release basically distills the alcohol into vapor which then condenses onto the lid while to dribble back into the remaining wine “juice” – that’s a total flavor fail. The Normal (aka Quick) Release lets the alcohol while also reducing the wine to concentrate the flavors – more on this in a shortly up-coming article.
I tried using my left-over nutmeg grater nubs for this mulled wine recipe but cooking these under pressure doesn’t do them any favors- vile is an understatement. Add nutmeg at the end to keep it pleasant and fragrant.
Finally, don’t alter this recipe by adding liquor before the pressure cooking stage- add it after pressure cooking (see the warning, below).
Pressure Cooking Alcohol & Wine Precautions
Be warned that when you release pressure for a recipe that contains mostly wine, a jet of concentrated alcohol vapor will be exiting the valve.
Follow ALL of these precautions when cooking with wine or alcohol:
After pressure is released and the lid is removed from the cooker, just follow normal precautions for handling and cooking with alcoholic beverages. Such as simmering it at very low heat (below 170°F / 75°C) and, unless your plan is to flambe’ (have the drink or food catch fire), keep open flames or sparks away (as detailed above) until the wine has cooled.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|3 L or larger||none||1 min.||High(2)||Normal|
- Serves: 12 servings
- Serving size: ½ cup
- Calories: 153.6
- TOTAL Fat: 0g
- TOTAL Carbs: 15.8g
- Sugar Carbs: 13.3g
- Sodium: 4.2mg
- Fiber Carbs: 0g
- Protein: .1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- 2 -750ml bottles (6 cups or 1.5L) dry red wine (such as Sangiovese, Merlot or Chianti)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- 6 juniper berries
- 1 to ¾ cup (150-180g) white sugar
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 12 pinches nutmeg
- 1 orange, sliced and cut into wedges
- To the pressure cooker add the wine, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, star anise, sugar
- Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
Electric pressure cookers and stove top pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve (see precautions, above).
- Mix the contents well, and serve in a glass or mug with a pinch of fresh nutmeg and an orange wedge speared in the glass.
- Serve this spiced wine immediately or let it bubble on "Keep Warm" or "Slow Cook" (low) for electric pressure cookers, and very low flame for stovetop during the party to scent the scene and nurture guests.