DIY Mulled Wine Spice Bags

Apologies for the break between posts – we moved house a few weeks ago and between that and the Christmas run-up it’s been ridiculously busy. These should make up for it a little though – homemade mulled wine spice bags that you can put together in a few hours and give away as brilliant Christmas gifts. They’re perfect if you’re a little short on cash or time – I actually made them last year when I was still a student, but couldn’t blog them without giving away the surprise.

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Ingredients (makes 24 bags):
– 100g cinnamon sticks
– 8 whole nutmegs
– 125g whole cloves
– 50g allspice berries (or regular allspice, if you can’t find the berries)
– 50g star anise
– 24 bay leaves
– 225g mixed peel
– 50g crystallised ginger
– 2tbsp light brown sugar

You will also need:
– 24 empty tea bags (or squares of muslin cloth)
– string

1. With a pestle and mortar, break up the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and bay leaves (if you don’t have one, place the spices into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin. This was my method and it worked fine!).

2. Finely chop the crystallised ginger then, in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

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3. Spoon 2tbsp of the spice mixture into each tea bag before tying with string. If you’re planning on using them as a Christmas present, put six spice bags into a small box with the following instructions:

Mulled Wine (to make 75cl): In a large pan, mix 50g caster sugar with the juice of 2 oranges and 100ml red wine. Add one spice sachet and heat until the sugar has dissolved and it’s just starting to boil, then add the rest of the bottle of wine and heat through.

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This photo taken by Jenny Stewart

You could also use cider or apple juice instead of the wine, in which case you skip the sugar and orange juice and simply heat the spices and cider/juice together.

It can seem a little expensive when you’re buying all the ingredients, but the more you’re planning on making the more value you’ll get for your money. The average cost per sachet is about 50p, so if you’re boxing them up in groups of 6 that makes for £3 a box (plus the cost of whatever box you use). They’re so much nicer than anything you can buy, and will be doubly appreciated for being homemade.

So with four days to go until the 25th, what are you waiting for?

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