Mulled Wine – Perfect Holiday Party Drink
Perfect mulled wine recipe with simple 7 ingredients and make-ahead tips. Spice up your holiday with this warm & cozy winter drink.
Remember those college weekends that starts on Thursday nights? Filled with dance nights, house parties, sneaking booze into dorms ( <- talking about neighbors here, obvi!), and low-key girls nights in… (Oh and pulling all-nighter on Sunday nights to catch up on homework. Oops!)
On one of those college days, I had my very first warm spiced wine. It was love from first sip, you guys!
Way back (like 10 years back!), my friend Mina’s mom sent her a package of Gluhwein tea bags from Germany. Tea bags for wine, filled with all sorts of aromatic spices!! Super convenient shortcut to wildly popular holiday drink in Europe.
It was our favorite thing to do on weekends… chatting away over a mug of warm (cheap) wine, infused with spiced tea bags.
It was a sad day when we ran out of those magic tea bags. After an extensive online search for replacement, I found only one place that sold the exact brand, but they were quite expensive. Not something we could afford at the time for sure. Hence, I decided to take DIY approach.
I found a recipe online, may have changed a thing or two and have been using that same hand-written recipe over and over for years!
So how to make this easy mulled wine?
Most mulled wine recipes call for star anise. Not in mine though.
My basic starting point is always the same: orange juice, a whole orange, sugar, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to make the most delicious spiced orange simple syrup. Sometimes I grate a little bit of nutmeg, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I add cranberries, sometimes I don’t.
When the orange mixture is nice and syrup-y, pour in your wine and heat it through. I use dry wine, like merlot, but any medium to full bodied red wine will do. And nothing fancy here!
Once wine is added, be careful not to boil it, or the alcohol will evaporate, which is no big deal, but why would you do that??
Yes, mulled wine is perfect holiday party drink! You can totally make it ahead and even double it, if you want to.
Simply make the spiced orange syrup in advance. And when ready to serve, mix it with wine and warm it up. Or better yet, place it in a slow cooker to keep it warm longer!!
This is my way of making peace with cold weather. I may not have my college girlfriends nearby, but I always think of them when I sip on my deliciously warm mulled wine every time! Cheers!
Thanks for stopping by.
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 orange
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 cup (240ml) orange juice
- ½ cup (100gr) sugar
- ½ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen), optional
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle (750ml) dry red wine (I use Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, but any full to medium bodied red wine will do.)
- Cut the orange in half, and then quarter one half. Push 2-3 cloves into the outer skin of quartered oranges, as pictured above. Peel a few strips of orange peel from the other half of the orange for garnish.
- In a large pot, combine orange juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, orange quarters with cloves and cranberries.
- Turn the heat to medium high and slowly heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once sugar is dissolved completely, bring it to a boil and cook until it thickened and reduced by almost half, about 15-20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and pour in wine.
- Simmer until wine is heated through. Don’t boil, or alcohol will evaporate.
- You can strain the wine and pour into a slow cooker to keep it warm. Garnish with orange peel and serve warm.
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This post was originally published on November 28th, 2014.
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