Mulled wine is up there with my favorite beverages to enjoy once the weather starts to turn. And sure, it's best drunk from a paper cup clasped between your mittened hands while you wander around a farmstand, but it's also quite good when you're snuggled up on a couch with a touch of a cold and '90s movies on a steady loop. Not that I'd know anything about that.
There are lots of different ways to make it, so you can be a bit improvisational, but here's what I do:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, put the following:
1 bottle fruity wine (I used Urban Uco Malbec, about $9)
1/2 cup sugar
About 1 1/2 oz brandy (one mini bottle should do it, but you can add more to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 orange, sliced
1 tsp allspice
A few cloves (I didn't have any laying around, so I skipped this step yesterday and it turned out delicious anyway)
Place the saucepan over very low heat, and let it warm slowly, giving it an occasional stir - you don't want to bring it to a boil. When the pot is steaming, your mulled wine is ready! Use a ladle to serve (leaving the solids in the pot) and garnish with a cinnamon stick. And feel free to leave the wine over low heat all afternoon and let your guests serve themselves at will, but you may want to remove the orange slices after about half an hour if you do this; there'll be plenty of flavor already, and you don't want the oranges to absorb too much of the liquid.