Mulled Wine

DF GF V VG

A simple recipe for mulled wine that is loaded with notes of citrus and warming spices and can be made in your slow cooker or on the stove top. It’s cozy, festive and perfect for the holiday season!

Few things are better than a mug of mulled wine on a cold winter night. I love how comforting a cup is and it doesn’t hurt that it’s so simple to make and can be made in bulk! Ditch the store bought mulling syrup and make your own mulled wine with a few key ingredients.

A large pot containing mulled wine with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise floating in the wine.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This cozy cocktail is completely hands off! Just add all of the ingredients to a pot and let it heat.
  • Perfect for making in bulk for parties and holiday gatherings.
  • Comforting and packed with flavor. It’s my go-to during the holiday season.

What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine also known as “spiced wine” is a traditional warm alcoholic drink enjoyed during the winter, especially around Christmas. It’s typically made by simmering red wine with a variety of mulling spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Citrus (like oranges) and a dark liquor are also both popular ingredient additions.

Ingredients measured out to make mulled wine: dry red wine, male syrup, orange, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and brandy.

Ingredients Needed

  • dry red wine – I used a Zinfandel, but Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon are all great options.
  • brandy – not necessary but most mulled wine recipes do include brandy! You can sub for whiskey or bourbon as well.
  • orange – sliced into rounds, plus more for garnish
  • spices – whole cloves, whole cinnamon sticks and whole star anise. Pro tip for buying spices! These can be spendy when you buy full jars of them. Grab what you need in the bulk spice department at your local co-op to save!
  • sweetener – I recommend maple syrup or honey but any natural sweetener would work. You could also use apple cider in place of the sweetener if you prefer. Just make sure you look for a brand that doesn’t have added sugars!
  • garnishes – all optional but I love garnishing the glass with an orange slice, cinnamon stick and star anise. You could also add some fresh cranberries for a more festive look!

The Best Wine to Use

I recommend using a dry red wine for mulled wine. I used a Zinfandel but Merlot, Grenache or Cabernet Sauvignon also work! I’ve actually also used a Pinot Noir rosé wine to make mulled wine before and that was delicious as well! I wouldn’t use a super fancy or expensive wine for this since you’ll be adding so many flavors to it. For all of my Trader Joes’ fans – three buck chuck also works great in this recipe.

Side by side photos of a dutch oven of mulled wine ingredients like wine, orange slices, cinnamon, anise and closes, before and after being mulled.

How to Make Mulled Wine

There are two methods you can go about making mulled wine: on the stove top or in the slow cooker. I’ll break down both methods below!

Stove Top – In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Make sure you don’t bring the mixture to a full boil or you will boil off the alcohol. The longer you simmer the mixture, the more intense the flavors and spices will be.

Slow Cooker – Combine all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, cover and cook on low until the mixture is hot! This usually takes about 1 hour. You can serve right away or reduce the heat to warm or the lowest possible setting until you’re ready to serve.

tip!
Make sure you don't let the mixture come to a boil or you will boil off the alcohol. A slow, gentle simmer is what we're looking for!
Two mugs of mulled wine. Each mug is topped with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Extra orange slices, cloves and star anise lay scattered around the mugs.

How to Serve Mulled Wine

Pour the mulled wine in your favorite heat safe mug and serve warm. I like to garnish with an orange slice, cinnamon stick and star anise but that’s optional!

This is the perfect cocktail to serve at a party! I like to serve it with a variety of appetizers. Here are some ideas:

FAQ

Does heating the wine burn off alcohol?

You want to make sure you don’t bring the mixture to a boil or more alcohol will burn off. If you keep the mixture at a low boil, only about 15% of alcohol will burn off.

Can mulled wine be enjoyed cold?

Yes! You can enjoy this warm or cold. I like the comfort of a mug of warm wine but if you prefer it chilled, have at it!

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover mulled wine in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It’s important to note that the longer this wine sits, the more potent the spices will be. To reheat, I recommend adding to a saucepan over medium-low heat and heating until warm throughout. You can also reheat in your slow cooker on “warm.” If you’re in a pinch, you can also reheat in the microwave!

An overhead view of a mug of mulled wine. It is served with a cinnamon stick, orange slice and star anise.

More Cocktails to Try

Be sure to check out the full collection of cocktail recipes here on EBF!

Mulled Wine

5 from 4 votes
A simple recipe for mulled wine that is loaded with notes of citrus and warming spices and can be made in your slow cooker or on the stove top. It's cozy, festive and perfect for the holiday season!
A large pot containing mulled wine with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise floating in the wine.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine, (I used a Zinfandel, but Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon are all great options)
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 large orange, sliced into rounds, plus more for garnish
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or your desired sweetener, plus more to taste
  • optional garnishes: orange slices, extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Instructions
 

Stove Top

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Don’t let the mixture come to a boil — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol. The longer it sits the spicier it will get.
    A large pot containing mulled wine, with orange slices floating in the liquid. A wooden spoon is resting inside the pot.
  • Pour wine in a heat proof mug, serve warm and garnish with more orange slices, cinnamon sticks and extra star anise, if desired.

Slow Cooker

  • Combine all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, cover, and cook on low until the wine is steaming hot (about 1 hour). Once the wine is warm, reduce heat to warm or the lowest possible setting so it doesn’t get too spicy.
  • Pour wine in a heat proof mug, serve warm and garnish with more orange slices, cinnamon sticks and extra star anise, if desired.

Notes

  • Brandy: Not necessary but most mulled wine recipes do include brandy! You can sub for whiskey or bourbon as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup Calories: 296kcal Carbohydrates: 24g Protein: 2g Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 11g Sodium: 68mg Potassium: 68mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mulled wine

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