It’s bleak midwinter here in South Africa, so today’s drink is a winter warmer. There are many recipes for mulled wine, but very simply this is red wine warmed with spices. This drink is common across Europe, though it goes by many names: Glühwein in Germany, Glögg in Scandinavia, mulled wine in Britain.

Good spices to start with are cloves, allspice, and orange peel (fresh is okay, dried is better). Other spices that are regularly used are cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla pods. Customise to your own tastes.

Don’t use the powdered spices readily available in supermarkets, as this will change the texture of the wine, so rather look for whole pods or sticks. If you have the patience, wrap the spices in muslin or cheese cloth, but if you’re lazy like me, just throw the spices into the wine.

To make: pour red wine (or you could use port or claret) into a small pot. Add the spices, then simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Sweeten to taste with sugar. Serve warm. Yum!