Is mulled wine really good for our health?

The cold, the markets and the Christmas lights have taken up residence in the city. The occasion of warm up with a glass of mulled wineor glühwein, accompanied by a good gingerbread. Beyond comfort, this alcoholic drink can do good for our body.

Origin: where does mulled wine come from?

The star drink of winter was born under the Roman Empire to aid digestion. We were then talking about Conditium Paradoxum. The recipe included not only wine, but also honey, pepper, bay leaf, nuts and dates. In the middle Ages, spices are gradually becoming more democratic : cinnamon and cloves join the recipe. Their use is not intended to enhance the wine, but rather to improve its conservation and mask its oxidized taste. Then many ingredients gradually join the party, such as citrus fruits and cardamom. In particular, tradition has won the countries of the North and the countries of the East. In France, it has conquered the Christmas markets and established itself in the tradition.

What is gluhwein?

Glühwein is the Germanic version of mulled wine. According to tradition, you can add a liqueur to enhance its taste (blueberry, raspberry or apricot liqueur), gin, amaretto or rum. The German recipe can also deviate from the original: sometimes you put a loaf of sugar soaked in rum above the glass, light it and wait for everything to melt in your glass (Feuerzangenbowle).

Why drink mulled wine?

Mulled wine is popular for its taste, but also for its health benefits. It is in particular rich in vitamins (when orange is added), organic acids, mineral salts and yeasts. In detail, the honey it contains is known for its softening, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon and cloves are known for their antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Besides the cinnamon stimulates the immune system and limits fatigue, while cloves have analgesic virtues (Pain killer).

Be careful, this drink does not only have benefits!

“But if alcohol can have disinfectant properties, it has significant negative side effects, warns Dr. Jean-Christophe Nogrette, general practitioner and deputy secretary general of the union of general practitioners in France (MG France). insist :

Recipes for mulled wine vary greatly, but the important thing is to consume it in moderation. In case of infectious pathology it is better to avoid alcohol in all its forms.

Indeed, mulled wine and toddy can give a false sense of comfort : Alcohol dilates the blood vessels which actually promotes the loss of heat. The body temperature decreases by half a degree for 50 grams of alcohol consumed, recalls the Anpaa (National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addictology). Moreover, alcohol accelerates dehydrationalso accentuated by the cold.

What ingredients for a winter mulled wine?

The recipe for red wine varies according to individual tastes and preferences. This iconic beverage traditionally contains:

  • 75 cl of wine;
  • 100 g of brown cane sugar or brown sugar (or classic powdered sugar, if necessary);
  • the juice and zest of an orange;
  • two grains of cardamom seed;
  • two cloves;
  • optionally half a vanilla pod.

For the “decoration”, according to your tastes, you can add:

  • two orange slices;
  • one or two cinnamon sticks (or cinnamon powder, if available);
  • a pinch of nutmeg;
  • and one or two star anise (star anise).

White or red: which is the best wine to make mulled wine at Christmas?

Mulled wine is a relatively fruity drink that relies on a red wine such as Gamay or Merlot, neither too tannic nor too powerful. Between us, there is no point in opting for an overly prestigious wine, such as Château Petrus, given that the wine will be heated.

But like all traditional beverages, there are many variations. The Swedes, for example, use white wine. The Poles add honey to it, while the Swedes prefer maple syrup.

Manual :

  • Start by pouring the wine into a saucepan with the sugar. Simmer it over low heat for about 20 minutes.without ever boiling it.
  • Then add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and vanilla.
  • Don’t forget the orange juice and zest. Boil for four minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for twenty-four hours.
  • Reheat and filter it before serving. If you wish, consider decorating each cup with star anise, cinnamon stick and orange slice. Good tasting !

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