If you’ve already managed all of your Christmas shopping , whether on the High Street or on Amazon Prime, then you definitely deserve a seasonal glass of mulled wine. If you’ve not started the shopping, I’d still recommend the mulled wine whilst compiling your list.

‘Mulled’ means heated with spices and mulled beverages have been around for centuries. Often hailed for its medicinal qualities, mulled wine became particularly popular in medieval times when sanitation was poor and the drinking water was seldom drinkable. It was actually safer to drink the wine. By adding lemon and orange zest, you also boost your vitamin c levels, thereby helping to ward off those winter colds and sniffles.

Making mulled wine is fairly easy. Simply take a bottle of a good (but inexpensive) full-bodied wine such as a spicy Cotes du Rhone, an Argentine Malbec or a young claret. Chuck it in a large saucepan with a cinnamon stick, four tablespoons of sugar, five cloves, and the zest and peel of an orange and a lemon. You can also add a slug of brandy if you want to jingle your bells and warm your cockles. Heat everything gently whilst stirring carefully, and make sure it doesn’t boil. Then serve with three or four mince pies per person.

Here are a few bottles worth considering this weekend…

Cotes-du-Rhone Léon Perdigal 2018 (Majestic, was £9.99 currently £7.99). This is a peppery blend of Grenache and Syrah, and is the perfect style for mulling. It’s bottled at 14% ABV (alcohol by volume) so it also packs a decent punch.

Rastras Malbec 2017 (M&S, £7.50). The Rastras is a new addition to the M&S range and it will tick all of your seasonal boxes. It’s deep, dark and intense but is still very smooth and approachable. It’s cracking value too.

Chateau Croix Saint Benoit 2015 (Inverarity One to One, £9.99). This is our house claret, and a brilliant winter warmer. It’s a blend of Cabernet Franc and old vine Merlot and you’d be hard pushed to find a better claret under a tenner this Christmas.

If all that heating and stirring sounds like too much work, most of the supermarkets offer pre-made versions of mulled wine which you can chuck in the microwave for instant gratification. Remember you can still add the aforementioned slug of brandy if required. Cheers!