Mulled Wine (1)
5/5 - (1 vote)
  • Food: Mulled Wine
  • Writer: Lizzie Green
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Let’s warm up with a glass of mulled wine. Turn on some music, light some candles or build a fire, put some spices and wine in a pot, and enjoy the Christmas season. That’s all there is to it.

Mulled wine has always reminded me of Christmas gatherings, yet a single batch serves two to four people. Mulled wine is really simple to make, even on a weeknight, and fills your home with a festive scent.

This mulled wine is intended for wine enthusiasts. I’ve had a few mulled wines that tasted like sweet potpourri over the years, but not this one. Even though it’s fruity and spicy, the wine shines through.

You might even have all of the necessary components on hand! If that’s the case, mulled wine is only fifteen minutes away. Let’s get started.

What is the Best Way to Make Mulled Wine?

Follow the easy-to-follow instructions below to make great mulled wine every time. Here are some helpful hints:

Select your wine with care.

Use a bottle of Merlot, Zinfandel, or Garnacha that is reasonably priced. More information about the wine can be found in the ingredients section below.

Heat on low heat.

Resist the impulse to make your mulled wine even hotter! It’s hot enough if your wine is steaming. Wine is a sensitive beverage.

If you heat it for too long or at too high a temperature, the wine will become excessively spicy, syrupy, and nearly raisin-like, and the alcohol will evaporate.

Don’t go crazy with the spices.

The fact that we’re just using a few spices may surprise you, but they’re powerful. “This doesn’t taste hot enough,” you might say after the first sip, but I promise you’ll alter your mind by the second glass.

in a saucepan of mulled wine

Ingredients for Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine yum (1)
Food: Mulled Wine (Source: Taste Of Home)

Remember that these elements can simply be doubled. Five drinks (enough for two to four people) come from one bottle of wine, ten drinks from two bottles, and so on.

Red Wine.

Because wine is the foundation of this dish, choosing the right bottle is crucial. Some red wines that are pleasant at room temperature are not so pleasant when heated.

Because we’ll be adding so much to the mulled wine, don’t use expensive wine. Simply choose a good wine (say, $10 to $20 a bottle) and pay attention to the varietal.

Merlot, Zinfandel, or Garnacha are the best red wines to use for mulled wine (also called Grenache).

These wines are black, fruity, and full-bodied, so they’ll be able to handle all of the ingredients we’ll be adding. Look for labels that say the wine is “jammy” or has “vanilla overtones.”

Avoid red wines with a lot of tannins or a lot of oak flavor, such as Cabernet Sauvignon (I say this as someone who generally enjoys Cabernet Sauvignon).

Avoid light red wines, such as Pinot Noir, because they lack the body needed to carry the spices.


Although we aren’t using much, brandy increases the alcohol concentration slightly. It’s more for flavor and bite than anything else. I chose E&J VSOP, which is a good, inexpensive option.

If you don’t want to buy brandy, you can leave it out, but you should keep a bottle on hand for sangria.

Oranges that are still in season

We’ll squeeze some fresh orange juice into the mixture before slicing the rest into circles. During the colder months, oranges are in season, so you should be able to buy good, juicy oranges at the supermarket.

If you can, get two tiny oranges because smaller rounds fit better in mugs. Alternatively, one large will suffice—you may need to slice your rounds into half-moons to make them fit.

Spices in their natural state

Whole cinnamon, star anise, and cloves will be required. Mulled wine requires whole spices rather than ground spices. Whole spices last longer than ground spices, which is great news (a few years, even).

If you don’t already have them in your pantry, keep them on hand for spiced ginger tea or hot toddies.

Honey or maple syrup

Because the alcohol flavor gets more strong when cooked, we’ll use a tablespoon or two of real maple syrup or honey to balance out the flavors.

This naturally sweetened mulled wine recipe is perfect for wine enthusiasts because it isn’t excessively sweet.

I’m undecided about whether I prefer maple syrup or honey. They both add a layer of flavor that complements the other ingredients beautifully.


I like to toss a handful of fresh cranberries into the saucepan before serving mulled wine to make it appear even more festive.

Individual servings could optionally be garnished with more orange rounds or half-moons, cinnamon sticks, and/or star anise.


Mulled Wine yummy (1)
Food: Mulled Wine (Source: Taste Of Home)
  • In a medium heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stainless steel saucepan, make the mulled wine. My 3.5-quart Le Creuset can handle multiple batches at the same time. Dutch ovens are fantastic because they maintain heat well and look so attractive when served just from the pot.
  • Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker to warm your mulled wine. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, cover, and cook on low heat until the wine is steaming hot (about 30 minutes to 1 hour). Reduce the heat to “warm” or the lowest possible setting once it’s adequately warmed up so it doesn’t become overly spicy.
  • With a ladle, serve your mulled wine. In a pinch, a heatproof measuring cup can be used to scoop. Place a black tea towel on a plate to provide a place for your visitors to put the ladle when it isn’t in use.
  • Finally, pour your wine into mugs. Glass mugs are appealing because the mulled wine can be seen inside. My lovely glass cups were purchased from Crate and Barrel, but they appear to be out of stock. Here are several more fantastic possibilities.

Suggestions for Serving Mulled Wine

This mulled wine is delicious on its own or after supper. Here are some suggestions for appetizers to go with it:

  • Cranberry Crostini with Candied Pecans that have been naturally sweetened
  • Cookies with Peanut Butter and Oats
  • Cinnamon Popcorn or Perfect Stovetop Popcorn Popcorn with Maple Caramel
  • Roasted Party Nuts with a Sweet & Spicy Flavor


Time to prepare: 5 minutes

Time to cook: 10 minutes

15-minute total time

5 drinks per batch

Warm yourself up with this traditional mulled wine recipe! It’s quite simple to create. In 15 minutes, you’ll be sipping mulled wine after gathering a few basic ingredients. 1 bottle of mulled wine (about 5 serves) from this recipe; multiply as needed.


  • 2 small oranges or 1 large
  • 1 bottle of affordable Merlot, Zinfandel, or Garnacha (also called Grenache)
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, to taste
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3-star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Optional garnishes: Fresh whole cranberries (about ¼ cup), cinnamon sticks, additional orange rounds or half-moons


  1. If using two tiny oranges, slice one into rounds and the other in half to prepare them. If you’re using a single large orange, cut it in half across the round middle, then slice one half into rounds. Place the rounds in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan or a small Dutch oven. Squeeze the remaining orange juice into the saucepan.
  2. Pour the wine first, then the brandy into the pot. For now, add 1 tablespoon of the sweetener. Combine the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves in a small bowl.
  3. Warm the mixture over medium heat until it begins to steam (approximately 5 minutes), keeping an eye on it. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting when tiny bubbles appear on the surface.
  4. Taste, and if necessary, add another tablespoon of sweetener if it isn’t sweet enough. If it’s not spicy enough for your tastes, simmer it for another 5 to 10 minutes over extremely low heat.
  5. Serve in cups with your favorite toppings! You can add cranberries to the pot if you’re using them, as I did, to make it appear even more festive.
  6. You can keep the mulled wine on the stove over extra-low heat if you anticipate finishing it in less than 20 minutes (it will become spicier with time). If necessary, take it from the heat, cover it, and reheat it over low heat. Leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, covered (pour it through a strainer if you don’t want it to get much hotter than it already is).


  • OPTION FOR A SLOW COOKER: In your slow cooker, combine the ingredients, cover, and simmer on low heat until steaming, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.