Mulled Wine

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This traditional homemade mulled wine recipe is incredibly easy to make, and it’s 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 fell in love with warm 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 it at nearly every holiday gathering and Christmas market and food festival we attend.  And in season of such newness and transition, it 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 (along with a new step-by-step video and fresh photos) for all of you 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.  It’s easy to scale anywhere from a “date night” to two…up to big holiday parties with dozens.  It’s easy to customize with your favorite spices, and spike with your favorite liqueurs.  It’s easy to make on the stovetop or slow cooker.  It’s hands-down better than any holiday candle for making your home smell amazing.  And it’s guaranteed to warm everyone up on a chilly winter night.

So grab a bottle of inexpensive wine (no need to spring for anything fancy) 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 — any basic 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 the boxed wine too!)
  • Fresh oranges: One of which we will slice and mull with 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 a few tablespoons of maple syrup or honey.
  • Extra liqueur (optional): Similar to sangria, it’s also traditional to spike your mulled wine with an extra bit of liqueur, if you’d like.  I like to add a bit of brandy, bourbon or cognac, but any favorite liqueur will do here.  (Or you can skip the extra liqueur if you prefer.)

How To Make Mulled Wine

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 just barely reaches a simmer over medium-high heat.  (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 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.

Mulled Wine Recipe

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 different liqueur: Instead of brandy, feel free to add in some Cointreau, bourbon or cognac.
  • 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 fruit juice: If you would like to add in some cranberry juice, consider making my ginger cranberry mulled wine recipe!

Mulled Wine Recipe Gimme Some Oven

More Holiday Drink Recipes:

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

Print

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!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 24 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

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients.  Add wine, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, 2 tablespoons sweetener, and brandy 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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327 comments on “Mulled Wine”

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  6. 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!

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  9. 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! :/

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

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

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  14. 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 :)

  15. 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!

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  17. 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. :)

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  36. 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!

  37. 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! :)

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  39. 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! :)

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  42. 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!!)

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  49. 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!

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