A lean white wine that hasn't been aged in oak works best for this drink. You can make the citrus base (step 1) up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Reheat to continue. For a clearer mulled wine, in step 2 pour the citrus base through a fine strainer into the wine, then add the whole spices. Add a few fresh lemon, orange, and kumquat slices for decoration as well, if you like.
1/2 lemon (about 2 in. wide)
1/2 orange (about 2 1/2 in. wide)
4 kumquats (each about 1 in. long)
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 in. long)
2 bottles (750 ml. each) dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio, Soave, or Sauvignon Blanc (see notes)
How to Make It
Rinse lemon, orange, and kumquats and thinly slice them, discarding seeds; quarter the orange slices. Put fruit in a 4- to 5-quart pan. Add honey, sugar (use the smaller amount if you prefer drinks on the tart side, the larger if you want a sweeter flavor), cloves, and allspice. With a knife, cut the cinnamon sticks lengthwise into thinner strips. Add cinnamon and 2 cups water to pan; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.
Pour wine into hot citrus base (see notes) and heat until steaming, about 8 minutes. Keep warm over low heat. Ladle into heatproof cups or wineglasses.