Mulled wine dates back to Roman antiquity, but it wasn’t until the 14th century that the mix of wine, fruit and spices gained its name, from an Old English word meaning “muddled.” While the word “muddle” is most commonly used today to denote a generally confused state, in its original meaning, that confused state was brought about with alcohol. It is thought that the process of mulling wine was first employed as a way to save wine that was about to spoil. Charles Dickens gets the credit for elevating mulled wine into a traditional holiday drink. While mulled wine appeared in several of the beloved novelist’s books, it was its appearance in his popular short story, A Christmas Carol, that sealed its place in Christmas culinary history. Mulled wine was also featured in the Christmas movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. When Clarence the Angel visits a modern bar, he considers ordering a “flaming rum punch,” decides “no, it’s not cold enough for that,” then orders: “Mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Off with you, me lad, and be lively!