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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”

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  1. Ohhh I totally want to try this! I love sangria in the summer, so this is the perfect way to make that work for the winter!

  2. I love Mulled Wine. It’s a staple with my family over the holidays.

  3. Love that your introducing a whole continent to mulled wine! There’s nothing quite like it on a cold day.

  4. I absolutley adore mulled wine (and cider!) and also wonder why it isn’t a bigger deal here in the US! Come on people, it’s warm spicy WINE!

  5. oh just give me a straw!! but I’ll have to sip it slowly lol

  6. Love mulled wine! And it’s the perfect time of year to start heating it up, thanks for the reminder! Oh, and this is the winter I buy a “puffy” coat too. I’m so tired of being cold. You’ll have to let me know if you find one you love!

  7. And the mulled wine that the pubs in London is so so good! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. SO cool! And John has already requested it, so mulled wine it is. Gorgeous photos, too!

  9. I’m trying to talk my cooking-adverse husband through this recipe on facebook. He’s resisting at the moment, but our mutual friends should join in to pile on the pressure soon.

    Needless to say, I am really excited to try this and the Chai recipe.

    Loving all of your posts, thank you!!

  10. I’ve always wanted to make my own mulled wine! Can’t wait to get started! Gorgeous pics, friend!

  11. Crap, I too was freezing in England last year and did NOT know this was an option! Oh well, cheaper to make it at home :)

  12. Mulled wine is one of my all time favorite fall and Christmas must-makes. I’m always experimenting with new versions, so I’m pumped to try yours. Have a great time at Kohler. Sending love from Madison! (be sure to smuggle home plenty of cheese if you can :) )

  13. My goodness, Ali – you always read my mind! I’ve been wanting to make homemade chai tea for awhile now and you provided one amazing recipe for it. And just when I began to crave mulled wine to sip on with friends – you post this recipe. I am in love with mulled wine. It’s a fall must-have for me.

  14. Ah I can’t wait for cooler weather just to make this!

  15. I’ve never had mulled wine before but I’m intrigued! And can I just say – these pictures are stunningly gorgeous Ali!!

  16. Yum, I love mulled wine but have never made it– thanks for the recipe!

  17. I love mulled wine, but I’ve never had it with brandy. The cinnamon sticks and the anise sound like a great addition too. Lovely!

  18. When we lived in Switzerland for two years, we developed a love for mulled wine (or vin chaud) too. It is a winter staple.

  19. Mmmhhh Glühwein…… Im original from Germany and there’s nothing better than mulled wine with some Christmas cookies…. We also enjoy mulled white wine with different spices….can’t wait for Christmas :)

  20. Mulled wine is one of my favs!! It’s so warm and comforting…mmmmmm. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Ali! :)

  21. I was so in the mood for this tonight! Looks delish!

  22. I love mulled wine – it’s one of my favorites for the colder season..I need to make your version at home now!!

  23. I LOVE mulled wine and, being from England, I’ve never understood why it wasn’t a bigger deal in the US. Maybe because you guys have eggnog and we don’t? Anyway, every year I get so excited for the Christmas period, mainly just so I can drink mulled wine!

  24. This looks so comforting, and it looks so pretty with the star anise on top!

  25. Aldi also sells Gluhwine (german mulled wine) premixed and everything during the holidays, I bought some yesterday all you do is heat and serve then!

  26. I’m going to serve this recipe at my Christmas cookie exchange party!

  27. Simple recipe and gorgeous photos! I’ll be trying this out tonight. P.S. I am a huge proponent of the “puffy” coat – makes a world of difference in the winter.

  28. I was wondering if you could substitute for the Star Anise? What would that be if you can? Thanks, looks wonderful and delish!

  29. Loved, loved, loved your recipe. It was such a Christmas party hit!

  30. Trying this on my family this year. I love that there aren’t a million ingredients! Also your photos are GORGEOUS. Thanks for sharing.

  31. You don’t have mulled wine in the Staes?! That MAKES Christmas for me back over the pond. We introduced our Brazilian flatmate to it recently, and I’ve never seen anyone look happier. 

    Thought you might like a slight alteration: swap the brandy for cointreau or another orange liqueur. It brings out the zesty flavours even more. Popping the spices into a muslim cloth tied with a pretty ribbon makes a great gift too!

  32. Loved the taste and ingredients, however my English and German friends recommend NOT boiling the wine and or brandy with the other ingredients, as that basically takes the alcohol content out. In Europe, the wine and brandy is added only after the heat has cooled down to a simmer or warm, then added. But if you like it not so strong and boozy, maybe boiling the wine with everything else is a good tip!
    Cheers,
    Kent

  33. I LOVE mulled wine and make it many times during the holiday season. To prevent boiling out the alcohol (most important part!) I start with a cup of water at the beginning and boil the spices in that instead of the wine. After about 15 minutes, I add the wine, turn heat to low and cook another 15 minutes. Then add brandy! 

  34. We make a similar recipe here in Brazil with wine, vodka or Brazilian cachaça (an alcoholic beverage made of sugar cane), cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger and sugar.  You can boil it as much as you want, depending on how alcoholic you want it to be, you can even boil it until it is not alcoholic anymore. This is called “quentão”, which sort of means “great warmth” because it really heats up the cold winter nights, specially here in southern Brazil where we get some below zero temperatures and snow. But I’m definitely interested on trying your recipe with oranges ;)

    • That’s so cool, Priscila, thank you for sharing! Do you add any fruit to the alcohol while you’re boiling it?

  35. Mulled wine!! I didn’t love it at first, until Christmas markets in Germany snuggled up with styrofoam cups of gluewhein. Swoon.  My tip: cooking it longer cooks out the alcohol. So, if you’re having non-drinkers at a party, cook it for a long time without the brandy, and then everyone can “alcohol to taste.” Excellent looking recipe!

  36. Does anyone know why mine came out very sour tasting?  Could it be the size of the orange?

    • Hi Sheila! We’re not sure why this could have come out on the sour side, unless maybe it was the type of wine you used? Or possibly the orange, but we doubt it. Either way, we’re sorry this happened, we haven’t had this experience before! :/

  37. I’m visiting the Christmas Village in Philadelphia next week and they have this and I can’t wait to try it! 

  38. I’m visiting the Christmas Village in Philadelphia next week & can’t wait to try it there❤️

  39. Hi there! This looks delish -I want to make it this weekend! I am wondering though, would you think it would be ok for me to actually make it on Friday night, leave it in the fridge over night, and reheat it on Saturday? I just don’t think I will have enough time on Saturday to actually make it, wanting to do it ahead of time!
    Thank you :)

  40. My husband and I made this last night while we decorated our tree. It was very tasty! We loved it but we think the orange slices soaked up a ton of the wine because we only got about 2.5 cups out of it. Next time we’ll just add the orange slices to the cup before serving. Other than that, we will definitely be trying this again in our crockpot!

    • Thanks for sharing Kelli, we’re glad you guys enjoyed it! That’s crazy about the oranges though, we’re sorry about that!

  41. Of all the recipes I looked at on the internet this looks to be the most promising! I have never made mulled wine myself but have had it before and it was delicious! I was wondering if I omit the brandy can/ should I add another liquid (like cranberry juice or orange juice)? And is it possible to make this in a crock pot?

    • Thank you Megan, we hope you enjoy it! You can definitely use cranberry or orange juice instead of the brandy, and you can also make this in a crockpot, but it won’t take long. Put the water and honey/sugar and your juices in the crockpot, on high. Stir to dissolve the sugar/honey. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat to a simmer. Then put the crockpot on the “warm” setting, and heat for about 30 minutes before you want to serve. :)

  42. Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS. Didn’t have the Star anise but this turned out incredible. My apartment smelled great. Can’t wait to pass this easy recipe on to my friends and family, thanks for sharing!

  43. The recipe says white wine, but the ingredients say red. I presume it’s red; I’ve never seen it with white. 

    I’m definitely doing this for Christmas!

    • Hi Ariel, we’re sorry for the confusion, we have a new mulled wine recipe coming out this week and we just made some mistakes copying/pasting, but the original recipe is back up! :)

  44. Hi when I originally pulled up this recipe it was made with 1 bottle of wine and was a little different. What happened to that recipe?
    I was going to use it for my Christmas gift enclosure with a bottle of wine :(
    Thx

    • Hi Karen! We’re sorry for the confusion, we have a new mulled wine recipe coming out this week and we just made some mistakes copying/pasting, but the original recipe is back up! :)

  45. Christmas in Cyprus, sunshine at the harbour, colder in the mountains, where we live. The slow simmer makes such a welcoming aroma to our home. Kalo Chrisogena (Merry Christmas!!)

  46. Your recipe looks really good. I don’t have the star anise unfortunately and I really want to stick with the recipe However I have a substitute aniseed essence. How much should I add equivalentlly to this recipe? 

    • Hi Nemal, hmmm, we haven’t tried this with anise seed essence, but it looks like 1/2 tsp should do it. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!

  47. You don’t know how much I love mulled wine , i will try this recipe for sure asap !

  48. Best wine I ever had…………..Brad

  49. We’re in Ontario CANADA; 15 degrees celius & rainy. this recipe will take chill off. 1st1 tried in europe where it perfect in chilly countries. 

    • Oh my goodness, just reading that is making us shiver! haha. We hope you enjoy this and that it helps keep you warm! :)

  50. How do you do this in the slow cooker? 8 whole cinnamon cloves?

    • Hi Molly! It’s 8 whole cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks. And you can do this in the slow cooker by cooking on low until everything is warm, (30 minutes-an hour), then just keep it on the warm setting. We hope you enjoy!