I have a confession to make. I’ve become obsessed with English period dramas. I know, I know. How American of me. It seems that every Tom, Dick, and Harry across the pond is a card-carrying Anglophile, but I never counted myself among them. I swore to myself that venturing across the Atlantic would not leave me feigning an English accent and declaring my love for fish n’ chips after four years.
But, to my own dismay, I prefer a strong cup of Earl Grey to coffee. I like a good walk – the English have a thing for trotting around the countryside, no matter the weather. I enjoy snuggling up next to a roaring fire with a hot water bottle to avoid the spitting rain outside. I even kind of love a big English breakfast, complete with eggs, sausages, and beans on toast. I’m being converted.
Two of my most favorite things the Brits have introduced me to are Downton Abbey and mulled wine. My adoration for both things started just before Christmas, when the….cheery English weather was at its finest. My roommate Hannah and I zipped up our Barbours (hey, we’re just trying to fit in here!), pulled on our gloves, and tore across the street to Mitchell’s for dinner. We sat down with our very English friend Georgie at a booth that was fittingly bedecked in tweed.
As I scanned the menu and started an inner ping-pong match, trying to decide between the roasted duck leg and the crispy skinned sea bream, I heard Georgie ask Hannah if she was going to order mulled wine. I quickly worked out what it was, as the name is fairly self-explanatory, and decided that I would most definitely be ordering a glass. When our waiter swung by to take our orders, I announced that I had settled on the duck leg and, of course, a glass of mulled wine.
After dinner, I curled up in bed and settled into an evening filled with Downton Abbey and the memories of that sweet, steamy cup of mulled wine. I can only describe it as tasting of comfort. It was warmly spiced and subtly sweet. It was just what I needed. It’s the perfect thing to take you through the rest of winter and into the warmer months. As much as I’m looking forward to the clear skies and warm sunshine that will come with springtime in Scotland, I will deeply miss being able to end my evenings with mulled wine.
Hayley Daen is a sophomore at the University of St Andrews, where she lives in a dinky apartment right across from Tesco, which makes throwing impromptu tea parties a snap.
1 1/4 cups honey
Peel and juice of two clementines
Peel and juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
10 whole cloves
1 fresh bay leaf
2 bottles red wine
Place honey, peel and juice of clementines and lemon, cinnamon sticks, star anice, cloves, allspice, and bay leaf in large pot or slow cooker. Pour wine over top so as to just cover the spices and honey. Bring to a boil. Stir to combine honey and wine. Boil for 5 minutes to create a syrup. Add remaining wine, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain. Heat until warm right before serving.