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In the Middle Ages, people thought mulled wines were good for one's health. That's why they named mulled wines Ypocras or Hipocris, after the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates. One of the oldest mulled wine recipes that still exists can be found in Robert May's book The Accomplisht Cook from 1660.
Mulled wines were very popular in the Victorian era and in fact what we know as a mulled wine today — the general ingredients, that is — comes largely from the Victorian era. Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts has recreated a 1850s Victorian village of America and in one of their newsletters they reproduced a mulled wine recipe first published in the 1851 book "Directions for Cookery".
There was a time when wine was more commonly served to children, not merely adults, and this included mulled wine as well. During the Victorian era a particular mulled wine recipe just for children was developed. Named "Negus," it was served during the Christmas holidays and sometimes kids' birthday parties.
Mulled wines don't have to be complex and difficult. It's possible to make a simple, basic mulled wine that captures the essential flavors and experience of the Christmas holidays.
If you enjoy this style of mulled wine, though, you should try making a more complex mulled wine as well at some point.
Everyone has their own idea about what the perfect mulled wine is. It's a certainty that people will disagree about whether this recipe for mulled wine really is perfect or not, but it contains the primary elements of some of the most popular mulled wine recipes in Europe.
So even if it's not everyone's perfect mulled wine recipe, it's the perfect mulled wine recipe to start with. Once you understand it, you can start adjusting it to your own tastes and thus make it the perfect mulled wine for your family holidays.
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