‘Tis the season to be jolly (read: drunk), but if mulled wine is your tipple of choice, be warned – they aren’t all created equal. We learned this the hard way. To save you from sipping on mediocre mull, we’ve blind-taste-tested seven supermarket mulled wines. Find out which came out top – and which tasted like bubble bath – in our guide to 2015’s supermarket mulled wine.
RECOMMENDED: For more festive fun read our guide to Christmas in London
Lidl’s Christkindl Mulled Wine
£4.49 a 1L bottle
You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to notice that this smells bad – really bad – like a rotten satsuma that’s been left in the bottom of a stocking to fester for 365 days. Admittedly, it tastes better than it smells, but that’s not saying much. Buy this only in a mulled wine emergency, or if you need to bring a bottle to a Christmas party hosted by someone you don’t particularly like. But if you value your nasal passages, make a swift exit before they start heating it up.
ASDA Ginger Mulled Wine
£2.50 a 750ml bottle
If The Body Shop did festive drinks, this overly fragrant wine would be their bestseller. Did you ever drink the bubble bath when you were a child? If so you may enjoy this drink. If you strike people who gift bath bombs from your Christmas card list out of principle, steer well clear.
The Co-operative Mulled Wine
£3.99 a 750ml bottle
A lovely aroma fills your nostrils as if you're visiting the grotto just as Mrs Claus takes her Christmassy bakes out of the oven, but as soon as you take a sip you realise this mull is all nose and no trouser. Its sweetness is rather fake and its flavour rather thin – Santa's missus wouldn't let it near her hob.
M&S Red Mulled Wine
£6.50 a 750ml bottle
Just as turkey is nobody's favourite part of the Christmas dinner (pigs in blankets, duh!) this mulled wine is far from a first choice. But there’s nothing offensive about it and it will warm your belly with fragrant, sweet red wine, so that makes it a solid choice with which to fill your dedicated booze mug.
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Mulled Wine
£6 a 750ml bottle
This syrupy sup is the sort of mulled wine that a child might mix up. It's enjoyable but does taste a bit like blackcurrant squash that's been strained through a spice rack. The alcopop of the red wine spectrum – people who'd rather a pudding than a starter will enjoy it.
Waitrose Mulled Wine
£4.49 a 750ml bottle
Call us snobby, but we had high hopes for Waitrose – because if Heston and Delia shop there it must be good, right? And it delivers – to a point. It smells boozy in a good way, not in a burning-the-back-of-your-throat kind of way. It tastes citrusy but not overly spicy – it’s inoffensive, but you probably won’t want to glug your way through endless bottles of the stuff. Although, speaking from experience, we wouldn’t advise doing that with any supermarket mulled wine.
Tesco Mulled Wine
£3.50 a 750ml bottle
Stock up on this bad boy for the Christmas season because, in our humble (and slightly drunk) opinion, it’s undoubtedly the best of the bunch. Unlike some of the contenders, it both smells and tastes good, which might sound like a given but trust us, it’s not. It’s pleasingly festive with all the flavours you want in a good mull – orange, cinnamon and cloves. Oh, and wine, obviously. And it’s only £3.50, which is a bargain in its own right, but it’s also a whole £1.01 cheaper than Lidl’s diabolical assault on the senses.
Read more thoughts on festive food
We bloody love Christmas sandwiches. So we assembled an eight-person panel, blind tested all of the high-street Xmas sangers we could lay our hands on and then promptly wished we hadn’t. Particularly because one of them bafflingly contains chocolate spread and another seems to think that coleslaw is the ultimate Boxing Day treat (it isn’t). Still, here’s the ultimate guide to 2015’s Christmas sandwiches.