Perfect mulled wine recipe with 7 simple ingredients and make-ahead tips included. Spice up your holiday with this warm & cozy winter drink.
Mulled wine brings back a lot of great memories.
College years, 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-nighters on Sunday nights to catch up on homework. Oops!)
On one of those college days, I was first introduced to a spiced wine. It was love from the 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 – a 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.
And 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! And here I’m today, sharing it with you all.
Why you’ll love this mulled wine recipe:
- No star anise
Mulled Wine Ingredients:
My basic starting point is always the same:
- a whole orange
- whole cloves
- orange juice
- cinnamon sticks
Sometimes I grate a little bit of nutmeg, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I add cranberries, sometimes I don’t.
Why whole spices
When making mulled wine, it’s recommended to use whole spices, like whole cloves, cinnamon sticks or whole star anise.
The reason for that is you won’t get weird powdery texture in your spiced wine.
Also, fresh spices are easier to strain!
How to make this mulled wine:
It couldn’t be simpler to make this mulled wine!!
- Push a few cloves into the skin of an orange, and then cut the orange into quarters.
- Combine orange juice, cranberries, sugar, oranges with cloves in a pot.
- Cook the mixture until syrup-y.
- Pour in wine and heat it through. Serve!
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??
Studding oranges with whole cloves takes away the hassle of fishing out tiny little cloves!
You’ll still get that warm cloves aroma in your wine.
What type of wine is best for mulled wine?
Any dry, full-bodied wine works perfectly!
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, or Pinot Noir are all great choices. And nothing fancy here, but something that you like to sip on on its own too!
Mulled wine is a perfect holiday party drink! And 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!
- 1 orange
- 8-10 whole cloves
- 1 cup (240ml) orange juice
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- ½ cup cranberries fresh or frozen, optional
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle (750ml) dry red wine Note 1
- Cut an orange into quarters. Push 2-3 whole cloves into the outer skin of quartered oranges, as pictured above.
- 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 slices and serve warm.
Tips & Notes:
This post was originally published on November 28th, 2014.