This simple mulled wine recipe makes a delicious warm cocktail. It’s perfect for a holiday party or those cold winter evenings.
Cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves, and citrus are added to a bottle of fruity red wine with a swig of brandy for good measure. Mulled wine is a delicious winter tradition, perfect for the holiday season. As an added bonus it makes the house smell so good!
Looking for an alcohol-free version? Try this mulled apple juice instead!
This easy mulled wine recipe can be made in the slow cooker too and kept warm as you need it. It’s a warming and comforting festive drink and great to share with friends at cozy evening get-togethers.
The mulled wine ingredients
There are a few key spice flavors in a good spiced wine.
- The mulling spices (whole spices)– The wine spices include cinnamon sticks, whole star anise pods, and whole cloves. Cinnamon is sweet and spicy and a must-have. The star anise brings a licorice flavor and the cloves bring warming notes. Don’t use ground versions of the spices because you want to be able to strain out the warm spices out once finished cooking. Ground spices will make your mulled wine grainy.
- Fresh oranges and lemon – Notes of citrus help to bring out the spice flavors. Lemon peel, orange peel, and the juice of an orange. Use a vegetable peeler to thinly peel the skin off the citrus, taking off as little of the pith as possible. (the pith is the white underneath the citrus skin. This can be quite bitter.)
- Sugar – Use granulated white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or whatever sweetener you like. I use white sugar as this is flavorless and doesn’t compete with the spices.
- Red wine – A bottle of red wine. A fruity kind is preferable like a cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, or merlot.
- Water – The spices are first simmered in water to infuse the flavors, before adding the red wine. This allows the flavors to infuse fully before adding the wine.
- Brandy – This is an optional extra but brandy gives extra warm flavor and makes a more boozy mulled wine.
What is the best wine for mulled wine?
The kind of wine added to this doesn’t matter too much, as long as it’s red wine. However, if you can, choose a fruity and robust red wine variety as that flavor of the wine will complement the other flavors the best. A cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, or merlot are good choices.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and sugar. Bring this mixture to a simmer. Keep it simmering over medium heat for around 8-10 minutes to let the flavors infuse in the water.
Lower the heat and add in the red wine, orange juice, and citrus peel. Heat the wine gently, for a minimum of 20 minutes. Take care to keep it under a simmer and don’t let it boil or you’ll boil off the alcohol.
The heated wine can be kept on very low heat for up to 2 hours, in which the flavors will infuse even more. Add in the brandy (about 1/4 cup brandy) at the end of the cooking time. This ensures the alcohol content in the wine doesn’t dissipate.
When serving, strain the hot red wine through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the spices and citrus.
Mulled wine in an instant pot, crockpot or slow cooker method
Add all the ingredients except for the brandy to a slow cooker or crockpot and put on low for around 1 hour until hot. Once hot, add in the brandy. The mulled wine can be kept on the ‘keep warm’ setting to keep it hot while serving.
You can bring even more flavor to the mulled wine with the addition of
- Cardamom pods
- Whole black peppercorns
- Allspice berries
- Apple juice – You can stretch the cocktail further by adding in a cup or two of apple juice.
Serving and storing
Strain the mulled wine and serve it in glass mugs or thick-walled glasses. Orange slices around the edges of the glasses add pretty colorful garnishes.
To store the mulled wine, let it cool completely. Pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. It can be reheated on the stove on low heat, or in a slow cooker on ‘low’ until warmed through.
Looking for more comforting recipes? This fragrant and nourishing Vegetable Pho is perfect for a cold winter’s night.
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 50g white sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 60m fresh orange juice (Juice of 1 large orange)
- Peel of 1 orange
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 2 whole star anise
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 750ml red wine (a fruity, full-bodied variety)
- 60ml (1/4 cup) brandy, optional
- Orange slices
- In a large saucepan, combine the water, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and keep it simmering for about 8-10 minutes to let the flavors infuse in the water.
- Lower the heat and add in the red wine, orange juice and citrus peels. Gently heat the wine, for a minimum of 20 minutes. Keep it under a simmer and don't let it boil or you'll boil off the alcohol.
- The wine can be kept on very low heat for up to 2 hours, in which the flavors will infuse even more. At the end of the cooking, add in the brandy.
- Strain the mulled wine through a fine sieve into a serving jug, or serve straight from the pot and use a ladle. Pour into glasses and add sliced orange for garnish.
- Store - To store the mulled wine, let it cool completely, then pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. It can be reheated on the stove on low heat, or in a slow cooker on 'Low' until warmed through.
Crockpot or Slow Cooker Mulled Wine -
Add all the ingredients except for the brandy in a slow cooker or crockpot and heat on 'Low' for around 1 hour until hot.
Once hot, add in the brandy. The mulled wine can be kept on the 'keep warm' setting to keep it hot while serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 1g