Mulled wine is easy to make, delicious to drink and, best of all, I love how it makes my house smell like Christmas! Learn how to make mulled wine, and how to make your house smell like Christmas too.
This classic winter cocktail will warm you up and make your house smell like Christmas. And it’s so simple to make! Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine or glühwein, is the perfect beverage for holiday parties or sipping on for Christmas eve.
What’s In Mulled Wine?
This is a simple recipe for mulled wine that makes December special. With warm winter spices like cloves, allspice, and cinnamon in the mix, it fills my house with the smells of Christmas. I just love that.
If you don’t want to buy the spices separately, you can buy pre-mixed mulling spice like this. In the box is a bunch of tea-bag-type sachets that you drop into your wine as it heats. Super simple.
Whether you add your own spices loosely like in the recipe below or buy the sachets, you can still add in the orange that is called for, and do throw in a few peppercorns. They add such a nice bit of bite.
Brown sugar is essential in mulled wine as well. You need that sweetness in there. And you can adjust the sweetness to your liking. So if you taste it while it’s mulling and find it harsh, don’t worry. More sugar added at the end will fix it.
Finally, many mulled wine recipes call for a bit of extra liquor to add at the end, like you do with sangria. It’s optional, but consider using some brandy, cognac, or an orange liquor like Cointreau.
What Kind Of Wine To Use
This is not the occasion to pull out the expensive bottles of wine. Mulled wine can be made with affordable bottles of full-bodied wine. You can absolutely go for the big 1.5L bottles and if you’re making it ahead of time or expecting leftovers, screw-top bottles are great because you can easily funnel the wine back in to store.
A fruity, dark variety of wine is great so that the flavor can hold up to the spices we’re adding. Consider using a Merlot, Zinfandel, or Grenache for your mulled wine.
How To Make Mulled Wine
Use a paring knife to poke 8 or so holes into each orange. Put them into a large pot and then add your wine and spices.
Bring the pot just barely up to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. You want it steaming but not continuing to boil. Add 3/4 cups of the brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Taste. If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar.
Put a fine mesh sieve over a big bowl. Pour the mulled wine mixture through the sieve to strain out the whole spices and oranges.
If you’re serving it immediately, rinse out your pot (just so there aren’t any spice bits left clinging to the edges) and pour the wine back in. Put it over medium-low heat just until it is really warm again. Turn off heat and add the liqueur, if using. You could also keep it warm in a slow cooker set to keep warm for easy serving at parties.
Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick or an orange slice.
Make It Ahead
This mulled wine recipe can be made ahead. Make up a batch, cool it, and then pour it through a funnel into the wine bottles that you started with. Cork them and store them at room temperature for up to 4 days. From there, you can pour it into a mug and microwave it on a moment’s notice. Or pour a whole bottle or two into a saucepan and heat it back up over medium-high heat.
Have a warm and cozy holiday season!
More Delicious Drink Recipes
Podcast Episode: Making Mulled Wine
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this mulled wine, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
Mulled wine is easy to make, delicious to drink and, best of all, I love how it makes my house smell like Christmas!
- 2 small oranges (clementine or tangerine)
- 2 (750ml) bottles of full bodied red wine (I usually use a basic merlot. It doesn’t have to be an expensive wine. In fact, I use one of those big cheap double-bottles.)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 2 Tbsp. whole allspice berries
- 2 Tbsp. whole cloves
- 10–15 whole peppercorns
- 3/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
- a few glugs of brandy/cognac or orange liquor (optional)
- Use a paring knife to poke 8 or so holes into each orange. Put them into a large pot and then add everything else except for the brown sugar and brandy.
- Bring the pot just up to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add 3/4 cups of the brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Taste. If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar.
- Put a fine mesh sieve over a big bowl. Pour the mulled wine through the sieve.
- If you’re serving it immediately, rinse out your pot (just so there aren’t any spice bits left clinging to the edges) and pour the wine back in. Put it over medium-low heat just until it is really warm again. Turn off heat and add the brandy/orange liqueur, if using. Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.
If you’re not serving it immediately, let it cool a bit after straining and then use a funnel to pour it back into the original wine bottles. Push the corks in as far as you can and store them at room temperature for up to 4 days. To re-heat, pour the mulled wine into a large pot, warm it up and add the brandy, if using.
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This post originally appeared in December 2012 and was revised and republished in November 2022.