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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. I would like to make this but I’m not a dry wine kind of person. Would it affect the flavor using red wine or the wine will not  be as dry as if you are just drinking the  wine itself. 
    Thanks!!

    • Hi there! Feel free to use a red wine that you like (it’s not essential that it’s a dry one). We hope you enjoy!

  2. It’s  -32  in Edmonton and I thought I would try this out with alcohol free wine so mommy to be’s can warm tthemselves on some as well. . This Christmas I will be making a huge batch on the back of the stove .. lovely recipe. . Thanks so very much

  3. If a batch doesn’t get finished in one sitting can you cool it and then reheat the next day? Will it still be good?

  4. You state early on “simply bring a bottle of wine TO A BOIL…then let it simmer…”
    But in your “method” section you caution against bringing the wine to a boil, “as you don’t want to boil the alcohol out!”
    You even then talk of “reducing the heat to medium-low and letting the wine simmer.”
    So do you actually bring the wine to the boil…or do you not?
    As an English person who knows all about mulled wine, (we invented it many centuries ago), I can assure you that you most definitely DO NOT bring the wine to the boil.

    • Hi Tide — oops, that is a mistake, and we appreciate you catching it. It should only ever come to a simmer, never a boil. We’ve edited the recipe. We’re sorry for the confusion!

    • I thought the Germans invented mulled wine with Gluckwein. But then probably it was a heritage from the Romans.

    • Hi there!
      I’m planning to double this recipe. If I’m using ground cinnamon instead of sticks, how much should I add?
      Thanks!

  5. My family and I were in Ireland for our Winter Vocation 2 years ago.
    We loved the Mulled wine there.
    I had the recipe but misplaced it.
    It will be Mulled Wine this Christmas Eve .
    Thank you.
    Sophia. 

  6. This is a lovely recipe!  Merry Christmas! xxx

  7. I’m not a wine person and don’t know what type of red to buy? Cabernet?

    • Hi Luan! We like a fruity California Zin or a Grenache for this. We’ve used Cardinal Zin (from Big House) a few times and love it, and it’s very affordable too. We hope this helps and that you enjoy! :)

  8. This was amazing! I’m making my second batch for a party tonight. It’s tangy and sweet and wonderful!

  9. Easy simple to follow recipe. This recipe has a very nice aroma and even better taste

  10. If I want to make about six 750ml bottles at once would I simply scale up all the ingredients or will that be overly spicy?

  11. It was in the upper thirties for Halloween this year in Indiana so the adult trick-or-treators who visited us were pleased with a hot cup of mulled wine. Great recipe, scaled up to six bottles with no problem and the apple brandy was a great add.

  12. I added a small handful of dried currants too. This is an amazing base for all kinds of experiments. Thanks for posting it!

  13. How have I never made this until now??? Definitely going to be a tradition each holiday season from here on out.

  14. My grandmother talks about how much she loved the Mulled Wine her and her sister used to make as a holiday tradition. This year I am going to make this for her as a way to remind her that her sister is still with us! Thank you for the beautiful recipe.

  15. Hi! As I live by myself, I’m thinking about making a pitcher of it and keeping it in the fridge to take my time enjoying it. How long can it keep in the refrigerator?
    By the way, I also fell in love with mulled wine when I was in England!!!

  16. So yummy, but definitly should have doubled the recipe as much of it cooked out. Still so delicious and love the orange flavor that really came through. Perfect for today’s celebration.

  17. Why not use aluminum?
    It’s the only pans I have and it still came out tasty. Seriously though, I actually do want to know, please.

  18. Can you save leftovers?

  19. Wow I like your recipe any you are like so cute. Mulled cider? Im going to try it looks super dooper good.

  20. I made this recipe last night. I tried it out on 2 of my adult daughters, who were over visiting, to see how it worked out. I didn’t have regular oranges so used mandarin oranges and steeped/low simmered a bit longer. I also added a bit of orange brandy to it to get more orange flavour. Both my girls and my husband LOVED it (& me too)! This mulled wine recipe is going to be used often in this household over the next couple of months!!! And pretty much a forever favourite!

  21. Very very late here, but I needed to share this with you since you like mulled wine.

    In Greece, we have two drinks called rakomelo (a compound of “raki” -else known as tsikoudia, a clear, grape-based brandy, usually homemade, and “meli”, meaning honey) and oinomelo (“oinos” meaning wine + “meli” honey). Naturally the former is stronger than the latter, but they are basically mulled brandy and mulled wine respectively, seasoned with honey as the name suggests, as well as cinnamon and clover. Naturally, more, or even different spices can be used in both cases, but cinnamon and clover are the classic choices. I also like putting the peels of an orange and an apple in a cheesecloth and let it simmer in there too, for an enhanced fruity flavour, not very dissimilarly to your recipe here.

    It should be noted for rakomelo that although tradition requires you use raki, I dabbled with coloured brandies as well, such as cognac. It may be just me, but the oaky aroma of cognac makes it taste ever better.

    I encourage you to try it this winter and experiment with different alcohols and spices. Do tell me what you discover!

    Thanks for reading this and thanks for the recipe. Cheers!

  22. Turned out very well. I used Indian red wine Madera for this. Tried this recipe on my birthday for friends, it was very nice and warm flavoured. I did not use brandy though as I didn’t have any.
    I would love to make this more often! Thank you for sharing.

  23. I allowed the wine to simmer for two hours, but once the second hour was complete, the 750ml of wine turned into 250ml of wine. Any tips for conserving the wine. I feel like simmering the wine for too long will cause most of it to evaporate.

  24. This was soooo delicsious! I decided to make a big batch and give it out to my co-workers and they loved it! This is going to be a staple for me and an easy holiday gift that people will really enjoy! Thank you so much for sharing!

  25. How do you make in a crock pot? Do you prep on stove and then just keep warm in the crock pot? Thanks!

  26. This looks wonderful. Can’t wait to try.

  27. I purchased some homemade apple hard cider from a “cidery” in MN last fall; could this be used effectively in mulled wine or would it overpower the drink? Now that I have the hard cider I don’t know what to do with it.

  28. I use my Sous Vide to bring to 165f and make sure that alcohol doesn’t boil off :)

  29. Delish. Turned out great. Thxs

  30. Looks delicious. I will make

  31. Just fantastic I put cardamon and liquor Creme de cassis, spectacular delicious :)))

  32. Do you have any thoughts on making this liquor free for abstainers in family . The recipe sounds so soothing and delicious, but would appreciate a kid-friendly copycat. Welcoming responders. Thanks, Happy Holidays.

    Janel Barthe in New Orleans, LA

    • Just boil the wine and it won’t be alcoholic anymore.

    • For alcohol free, just use purple grape juice or Trader Joe’s sells an alcohol free Wassail during the holidays that is great warmed up..those wanting booze can add brandy to the alcohol free wassail?

  33. Made this mulled wine in the crockpot for Thanksgiving. Big hit! Thanks for sharing.?

  34. Love it! Quite authentic. Be warned, if you add the brandy that it is quite potent.

  35. Made it now a couple of times! Honey is a great to add as you say in the recipe!

  36. This is a lovely recipe but just for the record, Glögg is different from mulled wine as we usually have a ton of spiced spirits in it and different spices ?

  37. Excellent recipe, this is amazing and the longer it summers the better it taste!

  38. It was delicious! I made 2 bottles worth and it vanished!

  39. Hi is it possible to make a batch for yourself and to keep it for a couple weeks??

  40. Thanks a lot for the recipe! I didn’t have orange, so I used 2 red apples instead (sliced). Sugar was better than honey (sweeter). I added 3 tablespoons of honey but ended up adding 2 extra tablespoons of sugar.
    I also added 3 pods of cardamon.
    It was easy and tasty, thanks!

  41. Brilliant, perfect for a winter get-together in Tasmania during Dark Mofo

  42. I was promised in this article that this is easy to make. I will make them this weekend and if I cant make them I will come back. I’m just kidding thank you for the recipe.

  43. May I link to this recipe for my email subscribers? I think they would love it!

  44. This is a great recipe!! Thank you

  45. Sooooo good.

  46. How do I print this without the ads showing up too? Exiting the ads doesn’t work and they’re taking up a lot of room on the pages.

  47. The only thing I would change is to omit the star anise. It made it too strong in my opinion. I would also put in one cinnamon stick instead of two. Thanks!

  48. What type of brandy do you recommend? What would the slow cooker instructions be? Thanks!

  49. What kind of ginger do you use in it? I see in the instructions where you have removing the Ginger along with other components, but it’s not listed (that I can see) in the ingredients. I LOVE Ginger!! Thanks! Really looking forward to making this soon!

  50. Excellent using it for the winter solstice in Southern Hemisphere Western Australia.