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Mulled Wine

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This traditional homemade mulled wine recipe is incredibly easy to make and always SO cozy and delicious.

Mulled Wine Recipe

Mmmmm…mulled wine.

Also known as glühwein, vino caliente, glögg, vin brulé, bisschopswijn, vin chaud, candola, vinho quente…or literally a hundred other names, depending on where in the world life may find you. Needless to say, it seems like just about everyone in the world loves some hot wine. And clearly, I can vouch that you all do too!

I actually first shared this recipe five years ago this month, after returning home from a chilly trip to Spain and England in 2012, where my friends I loved warming up mugs of hot wine each evening in the pubs. Since then, literally hundreds of thousands of you have pulled up this recipe to simmer warm batches for yourself. (Amazing!)  And I ironically now find myself living back in the continent where I first fell in love with the drink, where we have been served warm mugs of mulled wine at nearly every holiday gathering and Christmas market and food festival we attend. In our first holiday season away from home, this festive drink has felt more comforting and nostalgic and delicious as ever.

So today, in honor of my mulled wine recipe’s 5 year-iversary on the blog, I thought I would bump it back up to the top of the site (along with a new step-by-step video and fresh photos) for those of you who may also looking to simmer a cozy batch for yourself this winter.

Because after having made this recipe dozens and dozens of times myself over the years, I am absolutely convinced that homemade mulled wine just about the easiest recipe ever for winter and holiday entertaining. Truly. It literally just takes about 5 minutes to prep and can be made either on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It’s easy to scale anywhere from a “date night” to two…up to big holiday parties with dozens. It’s totally customizable with your favorite spices and liqueurs. And it’s guaranteed to make your home smell absolutely amazing and warm everyone up on a chilly winter night.

So grab a bottle of wine and let’s get to mulling!

Mulled Wine Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Mulled Wine with Orange

My original photo for this recipe from 2012. :)

Mulled Wine Ingredients:

To begin, gather your ingredients. For this mulled wine recipe, you will need:

  • Wine: No need to splurge on a pricey bottle — a mid-range bottle of dry red or white wine will do. (Or if you’re making a big batch, this is a great recipe to break out a nicer boxed wine too!) The best wine for mulled wine will be fruity and full-bodied, so that it can withstand the heat and not have its flavor completely drowned out by the aromatics. I recommend looking for a bottle of Zinfandel, Merlot, Grenache,
  • Brandy: Similar to sangria, it’s also traditional to spike your mulled wine with an extra bit of liqueur. Brandy is the traditional choice, but Cointreau (or another orange liqueur) or tawny port are also delicious alternatives.
  • Fresh oranges: One of which we will slice and mull in the wine, one of which you can slice and use as a garnish if you’d like. (To minimize bitterness, feel free to peel the orange before simmering it in the wine.)
  • Cinnamon: I love the making mulled wine with cinnamon sticks, but you could whisk in some ground cinnamon if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Mulling spices: These vary in mulled wine from country to country, but whole cloves and star anise are my favorites, plus perhaps a few cardamom pods.
  • Sweetener: Feel free to add your favorite sweetener to taste. Sugar is classic, but I prefer to naturally sweeten mine with either maple syrup or honey.

How To Make Mulled Wine in Saucepan

How To Make Mulled Wine:

To make mulled wine, simply…

  1. Combine ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and give them a quick stir.
  2. Simmer. Heat until the wine almost reaches a simmer over medium-high heat. (Avoid letting it bubble in any way. Alcohol begins to vaporize at 172°F, so take care to ensure that the wine does not evaporate.)  Reduce heat to low, cover completely, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  3. Strain and season. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove and discard the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and ginger. Give the mulled wine a taste, and stir in your desired amount of extra sweetener if needed.
  4. Serve. Serve warm in heatproof mugs, topped with your favorite garnishes.

Full ingredient amounts/instructions listed in the recipe below.

Ladle of mulled wine with oranges

Possible Variations:

Want to customize this mulled wine a bit? Feel free to…

  • Use white wine: This recipe is also delicious (and lovely) when made with a dry white wine.
  • Use a chai tea bag: In place of the cloves and star anise, feel free to steep 1 or 2 chai tea bags in the mulled wine (preferably caffeine-free, if you are serving this to a group in the evening).
  • Add different aromatics: Feel free to add in whatever aromatics sound fun! Fresh ginger slices, cardamom pods, nutmeg, allspice or lemon zest are some other great aromatics to try.
  • Add garnishes: For a festive touch, feel free to sprinkle some fresh cranberries in the pot a few minutes before serving.
  • Make Crock Pot mulled wine: You are also welcome to try making mulled wine in the slow cooker with the setting on low. I just want to clearly caution that slow cookers can run the gamut when it comes to what they consider a “low” temperature. So if you use a slow cooker, be sure to keep a very close eye on it to ensure that the wine is not accidentally overheated and simmering.

Mulled wine recipe in mugs with oranges, cinnamon and star anise

More Holiday Drink Recipes:

Looking for more festive holiday drink ideas? Here are a few more favorite holiday drink recipes:

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Mulled wine recipe

Mulled Wine

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

Homemade mulled wine is incredibly easy to make on the stovetop (or simmer in the slow cooker), it’s easy to customize with your favorite spices and add-ins, and it is SO cozy and delicious.  Perfect for winter and holiday entertaining!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy (or orange liqueur)
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds (also peeled, if you would like a less-bitter drink)
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste (or your desired sweetener)
  • optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients. Add wine, brandy, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and 2 tablespoons sweetener to a large saucepan.  Stir briefly to combine.
  2. Simmer. Cook the mulled wine on medium-high heat until it just barely reaches a simmer.  (Avoid letting it bubble — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.)  Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  3. Strain. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove and discard the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.  Give the mulled wine a taste, and stir in extra sweetener if needed.
  4. Serve. Serve warm in heatproof mugs, topped with your favorite garnishes.


Notes

Cheesecloth option: You can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.

Photos: I doubled the recipe for the photographs shown above.

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Recipe rating

164 comments on “Mulled Wine”

  1. There’s something about whole anise starts that are so pretty. Love your photos lady!! : )

  2. I had this with Bourbon instead of Brandy and absolutely loved it. Thanks for the recipe

  3. How long do you simmer this if you choose to use a crock pot?

  4. We look forward to your mulled wine recipe every winter! I’m making a batch tonight for Halloween and can’t wait.

  5. It tastes very good. I would double the recipe for four people next time. Everybody could just sample it.

  6. Delicious!!! We use your recipe every year and it’s always a hit!

  7. Excellent recipe!

  8. Don’t make the mistake we did and assume it CAN simmer for 3 hours. There was only a glassful left after 2, so it was lucky we checked it. It was also very concentrated. This is with using a gas hob on the lowest setting.

  9. Since you add sweetness to the recipe, can you just begin with a sweet wine?

  10. You have given me the perfect mulled wine recipe. Thank you. ❤️ The tip about peeling the orange slices was genius because that has been my problem with other mulled wine recipes: too bitter. I used brown sugar and my alcohol of choice was Cointreau. Perfection.

  11. maybe I was being dumb, but where do you say what quantities to use? I quite liked the outcoeme but consensus was had gone too heavy on the cloves. I would have found it really helpful to get some guidance on how much of all the different ingredients to add

    • It’s at the bottom of the article, I was looking for it too :)
      1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
      1 orange, sliced into rounds (also peeled, if you would like a less-bitter drink)
      8 whole cloves
      2 cinnamon sticks
      2 star anise
      2 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste (or your desired sweetener)
      optional add-in: 1/4 cup brandy (or your favorite liqueur)
      optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

  12. Easy and amazing recipe! I loved the tip about removing the peels before simmering the wine, made it perfect for me, thank you!

  13. Great explanation ?? I’m going to try making this in the slow cooker this weekend, wish me luck!

  14. We all loved this!!! Great recipe, Ali!

  15. Thank you for putting this at the top because, yes! We are outside this year aren’t we?? :) Happy Holidays!

  16. Simple and tasty ???

  17. Very good, thanks! So easy too. We are only two people so halved the recipe. Also it could just be our taste, but I prefer a sweeter wine, as opposed to dry.

  18. Love this recipe. How long can a bottle be kept for once made?

  19. I’m not a fan of red wine and don’t drink much white either. My husband doesn’t drink either. But since COVID-19 restrictions are in place for the holidays, I’ve decided to try all sorts of new things in the kitchen since we aren’t allowed to bounce around to visit family and friends. Tired if baking and cooking new things, I decided on turning to fancy drinks. I made this recipe as instructed with cheap wine ( in case it did not taste good to me) and peeled the oranges….MMMM! So delicious! I think I will be starting a new tradition….even if enjoying alone ;) I read elsewhere that I can refrigerate the rest and reheat to enjoy other days. So yum!! Thank you and happy holidays.

  20. Just made this and it’s lovely. I added a glog of JD honey and it’s perfect.

  21. This is awesome! I am excited to try the Chai Tea variation because I love Chai! This is perfect for the holidays or winter nights. Thank you!

  22. Excellent, I did peek the Orange, but left a couple of peels in. I used Cointreau instead of brandy and it was delicious

  23. Hi…very good recipe..simple…this keeps very well…make a whole bottle…and refrigerate the left over…and reheat in a mug when you want more…I put hot water in my mug..to preheat it so I do not have to micro wave to reheat too much. I do not add any sugar while making this…then I pull it off the burner and add Stevia…and make it as sweet as I like…also no extra calories…because stevia is calorie free…I do like the taste of raw honey…so I sometimes add a little of that after I take it off the heat…very great mulled wine…Sometimes I like it cold…add a few Ice cubes to a glass…and fill it with the chilled mulled wine and then top it off with some bubbly water…LaCroix orange flavored is great…about one inch…and give it a stir..Enjoy!!!

  24. Can I make extra and store it in the fridge? and warm up when I need it?

  25. Has anyone done this exact recipe in an instapot instead of on the stove/crockpot??? If so, can you provide cook times/feedback? :)

    • Have made it in one many times. All ingredients straight in the pot, low heat, stir a bit and drink when ready, its the bomb.

  26. I LOVE this recipe. THANK YOU for sharing it!

    If i wanted to give it a spice “kick” much like a spicy Bloody Mary, what would you suggest?

    I’m hoping to make some for friends as we watch the NYC Marathon this weekend!

    Thank you again!

  27. Great recipe! Side note, however: traditional sangria in Spain does not contain any alcohol besides wine. That’s an American alteration to the original.