Mulled Wine Recipes and Variations

Karen Frazier
Mulled wine by the fire

Mulled wine can warm up cool fall and cold winter evenings with a combination of wine and spices that's simply delicious. It's an ideal beverage for a cozy evening by the fire, a chilly ski weekend, or as an offering at holiday gatherings. Try these mulled wine recipes and enjoy them cozied up next to the fire with someone you love.

Recipe for Traditional Mulled Wine

Mulled wine contains a combination of dry red wine, spices, sweetener, and sometimes other aromatics such as citrus peel. You'll find different names for mulled wine, but it's found in multiple cultures. For example, in Piemonte, Italy it's called vin brulé. In Scandinavia, you can enjoy a mug of glögg, and in Germany it's called glühwein. Everyone has their own variations on this classic warm wine beverage. This recipe makes about five 5-ounce servings.

Ingredients

  • Square of cheesecloth and length of kitchen twine
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 750 mL bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or to taste

Instructions

  1. Make a pouch with the cheesecloth around the cloves, cinnamon, and star anise. Tie with the kitchen twine and add to a large saucepan.
  2. Add the wine, orange slices, and brown sugar.
  3. On medium-low heat, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least one hour and up to three hours to allow the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour into mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks and additional orange slice if desired.

Overnight Mulled Wine With Armagnac

If you'd like mulled wine with a bit more of a kick, then add some Cognac or Armagnac to your recipe. This warm grape spirit brings a depth of flavor to the mulled wine while adding a bit of an alcoholic punch for those who'd like something a little stronger. It makes five 5-ounce mugs.

Ingredients

  • 1 750 mL dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup Armagnac or to taste
  • 2 1-inch lengths of orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat and reduce to low.
  2. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  3. Refrigerate with the aromatics still in the wine overnight.
  4. Pour the wine through a wire-mesh strainer into another saucepan to remove all solid materials.
  5. Reheat on medium-low until warm. Serve immediately, garnished with cinnamon sticks if desired.
Toasting with mulled wine

Ginger Mulled Wine

If your taste preferences run to the warm spice of ginger, then there's a mulled wine for you. This recipe calls for candied ginger, but you can also replace it with the same amount of peeled, fresh ginger. It makes five 5-ounce mugs of mulled wine.

Ingredients

  • 1 square of cheesecloth plus 1 length of kitchen twine
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 750 mL bottle of dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the candied ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns on the cheesecloth and tie it into a packet with the kitchen twine.
  2. Add to a large saucepan with the wine and brown sugar.
  3. Bring the saucepan to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low.
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least one hour and up to 3 hours. Serve warm.

Mulled Wine With Apple and Rosemary

For a completely different flavor profile, try this apple and rosemary mulled wine. It makes five 5-ounce servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 750 mL bottle of dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • 1/4 cup dried apples
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce the heat to low.
  3. Simmer for three hours. Strain into mugs.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

You can also make mulled wine in a slow cooker and keep it simmering throughout the day. This is a great way to make mulled wine for a crowd; they can go in and get more as they want. This makes ten 5-ounce servings.

Ingredients

  • Large square of cheesecloth and length of kitchen twine
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 6 whole pieces allspice
  • 2 pieces candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 750 mL bottles of dry red wine
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Tie the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, and ginger in a packet in the cheesecloth using the kitchen twine.
  2. Place in a large slow cooker. Add the wine, oranges, and brown sugar.
  3. Turn the slow cooker on low. Cover and allow to warm for four hours before serving. Keep in "keep warm" setting throughout the day.

Choosing Your Own Flavors for Mulled Wine

These are traditional flavor suggestions for mulled wine, but you can add flavors you like as well.

mulled wine garnishes

Some optional add ins for a 750 mL bottle you can try include:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Up to 8 peppercorns
  • Up to 5 cardamom pods
  • Up to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Up to 8 juniper berries
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Dried cranberries
  • Up to 1/2 cup of tawny or ruby Port
  • Up to 1/4 cup of orange liquer, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • Up to 1/4 cup of amaretto liqueur
  • Up to 6 whole cloves
  • Up to 3 cinnamon sticks
  • Up to 1/4 cup of dried fruit, such as dried apples or cherries
  • Fresh or candied ginger

Garnish

You can garnish mulled wine with a classic cinnamon stick, or consider some of the following garnishes:

  • Add a sugar rim by dipping the mug in water and then in brown sugar.
  • Garnish with fresh cranberries.
  • Garnish with a fresh herb sprig; rosemary and thyme are both good options.
  • Garnish with dried apple slices or orange slices.
  • Stud orange slices with fresh cloves and use as garnish.
  • Garnish with a rock sugar stir stick.

Enjoy Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a delicious winter warmer, and it's easy to customize it and make it your own. It's a nice alternative to a hearty winter wine and the perfect way to ward off the chill or celebrate the holidays.

Mulled Wine Recipes and Variations