Easy Mulled Wine Recipe: The Ultimate Winter Cocktail

Get ready to cozy up with this Easy Mulled Wine Recipe that’s perfect for chilly evenings and festive gatherings!

As the temperatures drop and the nights draw in, there’s nothing quite like the comforting aroma of spiced wine wafting through your home.

This easy cocktail recipe is not just a drink, it’s an experience – a warm embrace in a mug, infused with rich spices and a hint of sweetness.

Mulled wine is the perfect Christmas drink!

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or simply settling down for a quiet night in, this mulled wine will be your go-to for adding a touch of warmth and cheer.

So, let’s dive into the simple steps to create this heartwarming concoction that promises to make any winter night a little more magical…

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The Origins of Mulled Wine is so Interesting!

The origin of mulled wine can be traced back to the ancient Romans in the 2nd century. They began the practice of heating wine to defend their bodies against the cold winter. As the Roman Empire expanded across Europe, this warm, spiced wine tradition spread throughout their territories, including regions that are now part of modern-day France, Italy, and Germany.

Over time, each region adapted the recipe to their tastes and local ingredients. For example, in medieval Europe, mulled wine (or spiced wine) became quite popular, especially given the historical belief in the health benefits of spices. This period also saw the introduction of additional ingredients like honey and herbs.

In the Middle Ages, mulled wine was known by various names such as “Ypocras” or “Hippocras,” named after the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. The drink was thought to be healthy and was even used as a medicine in some cases.

The tradition of mulled wine continued throughout Europe, with each country adopting its unique version. For instance, in Germany and Austria, it’s known as “Glühwein,” and it’s a staple at Christmas markets. In Scandinavian countries, it takes the form of “Glögg” and is a traditional part of Christmas festivities.

Today, mulled wine is enjoyed in numerous countries around the world, especially during the winter months and around the holidays. Its warm, comforting, and festive nature makes it a popular beverage to celebrate the season.

Ingredients for this Easy Mulled Wine Recipe

Picture yourself on a crisp winter evening, cozied up with your favorite blanket, and the delightful aroma of spices wafting through the air.

Maybe it’s the holiday season and you’re thinking of making the perfect Christmas cocktail!

To create the perfect ambiance, gather a bottle of your preferred red wine—think Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Zinfandel.

Grab a juicy orange, some whole cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a few star anise pods.

Aren’t star anise just the most beautiful spice ever??

Sweeten the mix with a generous dash of honey or sugar, adjusting to your liking.

And for an extra kick, consider adding a splash of brandy or rum!

If you’re feeling adventurous, throw in a pinch of nutmeg for that extra hint of spice.

This ensemble of ingredients promises to transform your ordinary evening into a warm, spiced haven.

Substitute Ingredients You Can Use in the Easy Mulled Wine Recipe

You can customize the mulled wine recipe with various substitute ingredients to cater to different tastes or to work with what you have on hand. Here are some common substitutions:


If you don’t have red wine, you can use a full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay for a different flavor profile.

For a non-alcoholic version, use apple cider, grape juice, or a combination of cranberry and pomegranate juice as the base.


If you don’t have an orange, you can use lemon or lime for a citrusy kick, or even apple slices for a sweeter, fruitier note.

Cloves and Star Anise

In case you don’t have cloves or star anise, you can use allspice berries or cardamom pods. These spices will still lend a warm, aromatic flavor.

Cinnamon Sticks

If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon can be used, but add it sparingly as it can be quite potent.

Honey or Sugar

You can substitute honey with brown sugar, maple syrup, or even agave syrup for sweetening.

Brandy or Rum

If you don’t have brandy or rum, you can use other spirits like bourbon, whiskey, or even an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier for added depth.

Additional Flavors

Feel free to add other spices like nutmeg, ginger, or a vanilla pod for different flavor nuances.

Adding a few black peppercorns can introduce a surprising but pleasant spicy note.

Remember, the beauty of mulled wine is in its adaptability. You can play around with these ingredients based on your preferences and the flavors you enjoy.

The key is to maintain a balance between the sweetness, the tartness of the citrus, and the warmth of the spices.

Directions for Making the Easy Mulled Wine Recipe

Let’s embark on this cozy culinary journey!

Start by rounding up your ingredients – that fabulous bottle of red wine, a sliced orange, a handful of whole cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and those intriguing star anise buddies.

Throw it all into a big pot and add a generous pour of honey or sugar – whatever floats your sweet tooth boat.

If you’re feeling a bit daring, toss in a splash of brandy or rum for that adult-approved kick.

Now, here’s the secret: heat it up gently, no need for a boiling frenzy.

Let this symphony of flavors simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, allowing the magic to happen.

Take a taste test and tweak the sweetness if needed – you’re the maestro here!

Strain out the spices and orange slices, then pour this liquid gold into your favorite mug.

Voilà! You’ve just concocted a soul-warming batch of mulled wine.

Sip, savor, and let the good times roll!

What to do With Leftover Mulled Wine…

Storing and reheating mulled wine is quite straightforward. If you find yourself with leftovers, here’s how you can safely store and reheat them:

Storing Leftover Mulled Wine

First, allow the mulled wine to cool to room temperature. Don’t leave it out too long, though; a couple of hours should be sufficient.

Pour the cooled mulled wine into an airtight container. Glass bottles or jars are excellent choices. If you have any spices or fruit slices left in the wine, you can either strain them out or leave them in for extra flavor infusion while storing.

Store the container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, mulled wine can last for up to 3-5 days.

Reheating Mulled Wine

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat the mulled wine gently on the stove over low to medium heat. Avoid boiling it, as this can alter the flavor and reduce the alcohol content.

Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe container and heat it in short intervals, stirring in between, until it’s just warm. This method works well if you’re reheating a small quantity.

For a larger quantity or a more hands-off approach, you can use a slow cooker. Set it on low to gently warm the mulled wine, making it perfect for serving at gatherings.


Try to reheat only the amount of mulled wine you plan to consume. Repeated reheating can deteriorate the quality and flavor.

If the mulled wine has been stored for a couple of days, give it a taste before serving. You may want to adjust the sweetness or add a few fresh spices to enhance the flavor.

While freezing is not typically recommended for mulled wine due to potential changes in flavor and texture, it is technically possible. Freeze in an airtight container, leaving some space for expansion. Thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat gently.

By following these steps, you can enjoy your delicious mulled wine even a few days after you’ve initially made it, perfect for extending those cozy, wintery vibes.

The Perfect Pairings for Mulled Wine!

Pairing mulled wine with complementary snacks can enhance the overall experience. Here are some delightful snack options to serve alongside your mulled wine:

Cheese Platter

Choose a variety of cheeses with different textures and flavors. Consider including a creamy Brie, a sharp cheddar, a nutty Gouda, and a blue cheese.

Specific Cheese Pairings for Mulled Wine

When pairing cheeses with mulled wine, you want to select varieties that can stand up to and complement the bold, spiced flavors of the wine. Here are some specific types of cheese that pair exceptionally well with mulled wine:

Aged Cheddar

The sharpness and slight nuttiness of an aged cheddar can be a great match for the rich, spicy notes of mulled wine. Its robust flavor doesn’t get overshadowed by the wine’s complexity.

Gouda (Especially Aged Gouda)

Gouda, particularly when aged, offers a wonderful caramel sweetness and a slightly crunchy texture from the protein crystals that form during aging. This sweetness pairs nicely with the spiced profile of the wine.

Blue Cheese

The strong, pungent flavors of blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort, can stand up to the intensity of mulled wine. The contrast between the sweet and spicy wine and the sharp cheese can be quite delightful.

Brie or Camembert

Creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert offer a rich, buttery profile that complements the warmth of the mulled wine. The creaminess of these cheeses balances the spices and fruitiness of the wine.

Smoked Cheeses

Smoked cheeses like smoked Gouda or smoked cheddar can add an interesting dimension when paired with mulled wine. The smoky flavor pairs well with the warming spices of the wine.


Add some crackers or crusty bread, along with honey, fig jam, or chutney for a sweet contrast. Nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, can also complement the cheese.

Fresh Fruits

Serve a bowl of fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. These provide a refreshing and slightly tart contrast to the warm mulled wine.

The natural sweetness and crisp texture of sliced apples and pears work well with the spiced flavors of mulled wine.

Charcuterie Board

Include a selection of cured meats like prosciutto, salami, or chorizo. The saltiness and richness of the meats pair nicely with the wine.

Add some pickles, olives, or pickled vegetables for a briny and tangy element.

Chocolate and Desserts

A good-quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can complement the warm spices in mulled wine.

Consider serving small dessert bites like chocolate truffles, mini tarts, or gingerbread cookies for a sweet treat.


Roasted and spiced nuts, such as cinnamon and sugar almonds or rosemary-infused cashews, can add a crunchy and flavorful component.

Dips and Spreads

A creamy hummus with pita bread or vegetable sticks provides a savory option.

Artichoke dip, spinach and feta dip, or a sun-dried tomato spread can add richness to the snack selection.

Savory Pastries

Serve bite-sized puff pastry creations with ingredients like cheese, herbs, or mushrooms for a savory option.


Fresh bruschetta with ripe tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze offers a light and flavorful choice.

Remember, the key is to balance the flavors and textures, offering a mix of sweet, savory, creamy, and crunchy elements to complement the warm and spiced character of the mulled wine.

Adjust the selections based on your preferences and the preferences of your guests.

Cheers to a delightful and well-paired experience!

If you enjoyed this hot toddy recipe, check out my recipe for Hot Buttered Rum!

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Mulled Wine

This full-bodied drink makes the perfect hot toddy or Christmas cocktail! The easy recipe will have you sipping this warm beverage in no time flat!
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: German, Mediterranean, UK
Keyword: Gluhwein, hot drink recipe, hot toddy, hot wine
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 81kcal

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  • 1 bottle 750 ml red wine, preferably a dry red like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Zinfandel
  • 1 orange sliced into rounds
  • 8-10 whole cloves
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 pieces star anise
  • ¼ cup honey or sugar adjust to taste
  • Optional:
  • ¼ cup Brandy or Rum
  • lemon slices or additional orange slices for garnish
  • a pinch of nutmeg for extra spice


  • Combine Ingredients:
  • In a large saucepan, combine the wine, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and honey or sugar. If you’re using it, add the brandy or rum as well.
  • Heat Gently:
  • Warm the mixture over low to medium heat. It’s important to avoid letting it boil; you want to heat it gently to infuse the flavors without cooking off the alcohol. A good temperature range is around 130°F to 160°F (55°C to 70°C).
  • Simmer:
  • Allow the mixture to simmer gently for at least 15-20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more pronounced the flavors will be. However, be cautious not to overheat or overcook, as this can affect the quality of the wine.
  • Taste and Adjust:
  • Taste the mulled wine and adjust the sweetness, if necessary. If it’s too sweet, you can add a bit more wine or some lemon juice to balance it out.
  • Strain and Serve:
  • Once the mulled wine has reached your desired flavor, strain it to remove the spices and orange slices. Serve it hot in mugs or heatproof glasses. Garnish with additional orange slices, lemon slices, or a fresh cinnamon stick if desired.
  • Keep Warm:
  • If not serving immediately, keep the mulled wine warm over very low heat or in a slow cooker set to a low heat setting.

Your Own Private Notes


Wine Choice: Avoid using expensive or highly complex wines, as the mulling spices and sweeteners will dominate the flavor.
Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices according to your preference. Some people like to add cardamom pods, ginger slices, or bay leaves.
Sweetness: The amount of honey or sugar can be adjusted based on how sweet you like your mulled wine.
Serving Size: This recipe serves about 4-6 people. You can easily double the ingredients for a larger crowd.
Enjoy your homemade mulled wine, perfect for holiday gatherings or simply as a cozy treat on a chilly evening!


Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lakegirlquilts or tag #lakegirlquilts!

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