Mulled Wine is a traditional holiday beverage made with red wine and mulling spices. Delicious, cozy, and guaranteed to warm you from the inside out, mulled wine is basically everything you want in life come Christmas time.
A time for food, family, and giving thanks, there is no better addition to any holiday table than this Spiced Mulled Wine. With cooler temperatures settling in for the winter, the holidays fast approaching, and fireplaces blazing, try cozying up with a cup (or two) of this warm mulled wine.
What is Mulled Wine?
Mulled Wine, in its simplest form, is a wine that has been spiced, sweetened, and served warm- usually with some sort of hard liquor.
In Germany, mulled wine is known as Gluhwein or “glow wine” and is made with a shot of rum or amaretto. In Prague, the beautiful city where I had my first mulled wine experience, it is called svařák and while everyone in Prague has their own unique twist on this festive drink, it is most commonly served without the addition of additional liquor. Head over to Sweden and you’ll get Gløgg- a wine made with blanched almonds, raisins, cardamom, and typically more sugar.
While the foundation for mulled wine is the same no matter where you go, the regional differences give each their own unique taste and flavor.
Ingredients in Mulled Wine
Wine. The most important ingredient. Red or white wine, the choice is up to you. Traditionally, it is made with an inexpensive red wine.
Liquor (optional). Similar to sangria, mulled wine really loves a little brandy. However, feel free to pick your favorite liquor- rum, vodka, brandy- or leave out altogether.
Oranges. Oranges are the classic addition to mulled wine, but feel free to include clementines or lemons (or both!).
Fruit. I went a little rogue with this recipe and added fresh cranberries and blackberries. The blackberries, in particular, added really nice sweet berry notes.
Spices. Although it differs from region to region, there are three must-have spices in any warm and toasty wine (according to me)- whole cloves, star anise, and whole cinnamon sticks. Add whatever you have on hand, but take care to remove all spices (especially those little cloves) before serving.
Sweetener. I used maple syrup, but brown sugar, granulated sugar, or honey would also work. Of course, feel free to skip the added sugar.
Is there any alcohol in Mulled Wine?
Yes. Mulled wine is warm spice-infused wine.
Many recipes (like this one) often include liquor like brandy, vodka, or rum, thus making mulled wine even more potent. The key to maintaining alcohol in mulled wine is to avoid boiling for prolonged periods of time. A few seconds of boiling will not boil away all the alcohol in your mulled wine; however, it’s best to keep it at a low simmer. The idea is to get the wine warm enough so that the spices and fruit can infuse into the wine, but not so warm that it starts to boil.
So, moral of the story? Do not boil.
Unless you want a non-alcoholic drink, in which case, boil away!
But, that would be silly…
How to make Mulled Wine
It’s super easy to make this mulled wine recipe in both the slow cooker or stovetop.
Dump. Combine all ingredients in a pot or saucepan set over medium heat.
Simmer. Gently bring the wine to a low simmer over medium-low heat. You guys, do not boil as this will boil off all the alcohol. Heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve. To serve, carefully ladle into the desired number of serving glasses. Leave the spices behind for re-use.
Garnish. Garnish with additional orange slices, blackberries, and cranberries, if desired.
- Dump. Add all ingredients to a 4-quart slow cooker.
- Simmer. Cover and set your slow cooker to LOW. Warm for approximately 1 hour, or until wine is warm throughout.
- Serve. Ladle into glasses leaving behind any spices.
- Garnish. Garnish with additional orange slices, blackberries, and cranberries, if desired.
I know, talk about easy. You could even prepare dinner while the wine warms…
Tips and Tricks
Make a pot of this mulled wine and you’ll soon see that there really isn’t much to it. It’s fast, easy, and people love the extra bit of effort to make ordinary wine warm and toasty. Here are a few tips and suggestions for making the very best wine!
- Avoid over-spicing. There’s a reason why soups, stews, and yes, mulled wine, only call for a couple of cinnamon sticks or whole star anise…these spices are potent. A couple of each is all you’ll need.
- Speaking of spices- don’t drink them and don’t eat them. Instead, leave them behind in the pot. They’re good for 2-3 more rounds of wine.
- I may have mentioned this already, but just in case…don’t boil your mulled wine.
- Add some cider! Adding apple juice or apple cider is a great way to sweeten it up without adding sugar. Start with 1 cup.
- Take it slow. Unless you dilute your wine, you’re basically drinking glasses of wine spiked with liquor. The crazy train comes fast (not that I know or anything…)
- I highly recommend preparing this recipe in a saucepan or a pan with higher sides (not a cast-iron skillet). Cleaning red wine from carpet is no fun (even if the photos turn out really pretty).
- Make it in a slow cooker. It’s easier.
More drink recipes check out,
- Rosemary Brown Derby (Bourbon and Grapefruit Cocktail)
- Blackberry Cranberry Moscow Mule
- How to Make a Gin and Tonic
- Cucumber Rosemary Gin and Tonic
- Frozen Peach Wine Slushies
- Affogato Recipe (Espresso Ice Cream)
- Holiday Peppermint White Russian
If you try making this Mulled Wine Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Spiced Mulled Wine Recipe
- Combine all ingredients in a (non-aluminum) pot or saucepan set over medium heat.
- Gently bring the wine to a low simmer over medium-low heat- do not boil as this will boil off all the alcohol. Heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To serve, carefully ladle the mulled wine into the desired number of serving glasses, leaving spices behind for re-use.
- Garnish with additional orange slices, blackberries, and cranberries, if desired.
- Add all ingredients to a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and set your slow cooker to LOW. Warm for approximately 1 hour, or until wine is warm throughout. Ladle into glasses leaving behind any spices.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)