Easy Spiced Mulled Wine

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The holidays are upon us, which means that it is officially the season for adult beverages. If you’re in need of some Christmas spirit (pun absolutely intended), look no further than this fast and easy spiced mulled wine recipe. It comes together in a snap and can easily be scaled for merrymaking of any size.

two glass mugs of spiced mulled wine with cinnamon stick and orange slice garnishes on a blue and white tablescape

The first time I ever tasted mulled wine was at a German Christmas market in Denver, and it was love at first sip! Warm, comforting, and just boozy enough to help you put your internal sweater on, this delicious seasonal beverage is something you should absolutely make this holiday season. I mean, wine not? (I’m so punny)!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

Tis the season to get tipsy, folks. It’s the most wine-derful time of year! All jokes aside, this yummy cocktail is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. When it’s oh so chilly outside, there’s nothing like a mug full of warm, lightly sweetened, and perfectly spiced mulled wine to warm even the Grinchiest of hearts.

As a lover of sangria, this recipe makes all the sense in the world to me. It’s basically a winter version of my favorite summer beverage! Wine, fruit and spices combined with just a bit of extra kick from orange liqueur. Trust me here, folks. Santa is telling you to hold the milk and dish up the wine this year.

mise en place for mulled wine recipe - bottle of red wine, honeycrisp apples, cinnamon sticks, whole star anise and oranges on the vine

What’s even better about this easy mulled wine recipe is how simple it is to put together! No more trying to wear the many hats of the season – Santa’s little helper, hostess with the mostest, passer of hors d’oeuvres, and bartender.

With this easy recipe, you can check at least one of those off the list and let your guests serve themselves.

If you have a small crockpot at the ready, you can keep this mulled wine perfectly warmed for a whole evening worth of festivities, even if you do need to refill it a few times (wink, wink!).

thin slices of apples and oranges in a ceramic bowl with star anise and cinnamon sticks

How to Make Mulled Wine

If you’re never made mulled wine before, you’re in for a treat. This recipe is as simple as tossing all the ingredients together in a pot, bringing to a simmer and waiting patiently for 15 minutes for the spices to do their magic.

I told you! This is the cocktail recipe you need to keep your holiday season extra merry without any extra fuss. And even though 2020 has been a doozy, there’s plenty of Rieslings to celebrate. All my puns are really coming in handy, but it might be the warm mulled wine talking.

A few notes to keep in mind when you’re making this delightful winter cocktail:

Do not boil

First, be sure to keep the wine from coming to a boil. You don’t want all the alcohol to boil off! You also want to make sure that you don’t end up with a bitter batch, which can happen if you boil it. Just be patient and go low and slow for a perfect mulled wine.

One way to ensure that your mulled wine never goes above the recommended simmer is to put the whole recipe together in a slow cooker. Toss everything in and set it to low about 45 minutes before guests arrive, and the cocktail should be ready to serve as your party gets started.

Garnish

Next, while the orange and apple provide a lovely decorative touch, feel free to serve it up with the beverage. Like sangria, the fruit is completely edible and adds a festive bit of fun to each glass. I don’t know about you, but right about now, I’m dreaming of a wine Christmas.

spiced mulled wine in a blue and white punch bowl with floating slices of oranges, apples, whole star anise and cinnamon sticks

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the best wine for mulled wine?

I used a bottle of inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, or any red blend would also be delicious.

Depending on how merry you’re planning on getting, you can also opt for a box of wine. Just keep in mind that a box is equivalent to four 750-ml bottles.

What spices are in mulled wine?

I used cinnamon sticks, whole star anise (they’re so beautiful!), and cloves, but you can certainly spice things up according to your own preferences. Cardamom pods, ginger, and nutmeg could all add a bit of festive flair to your warm holiday punch.

I can’t find cognac orange liqueur… any subs?

Sure thing! You can substitute Cointreau, Triple Sec, or any other orange liqueur you might have on hand. Or if you want the flavor, but not the extra alcohol, replace with apple cider.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

You have leftovers? Color me impressed with your self-restraint. If you have some mulled wine leftover after the festivities, simply allow the wine to come to room temperature and strain fruit and spices.

I like to pour mine in a mason jar and refrigerate for up to one week. Then when it’s time to reheat, you can just unscrew the lid and microwave yourself a glass of yum.

How should I go about reheating the mulled wine?

I use a small pot and reheat on stovetop till warm. Just like when you made it the first time, try not to bring to a boil to avoid evaporating alcohol and making it bitter. You can also microwave it in a heat proof cup if you’re looking for a single serving.

Do you have any recommendations for those of us who are trying to limit their alcohol?

Look at you being responsible! There are a few versions of my spiced mulled wine that will help to cut back on the booze. First up, you can use apple cider in place of cognac orange liqueur. It will add the necessary sweetness and amp up the spices without adding any extra alcohol to the pot.

If you’re looking for a festive wine that you can share with your college age kids who aren’t yet of age, or want to share the celebration with pregnant women, I recently discovered the amazing invention that is dealcoholized wine! You can buy a bottle of red that has no alcohol in it, and it tastes much more like the real, full bodied thing than grape juice.

So, if you’re looking to share the season with those who shouldn’t be drinking, use dealcoholized red wine and apple cider, and you have a completely G-rated version of my favorite holiday beverage!

Need more warm holiday inspiration?

Check out these other recipes:

If you tried this yummy and easy spiced mulled wine recipe, please be sure to comment and rate it below so I know how it turned out for you. Also, if you made it through this whole post without cringing, you’re officially one of my favorites. While I know wine puns are always in pour taste, I just can’t help myself! 

If you would like more delicious recipes like this one delivered straight to your inbox, please sign up for my email newsletter. We can also get social (in a perfectly socially distant manner, of course) if you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

two mugs of spiced mulled wine with cinnamon stick and fruit slice garnishes on a blue and white tablescape with greenery

Easy Spiced Mulled Wine

This traditional homemade mulled wine recipe is incredibly easy to make, and it’s so cozy and delicious.
mulled wine in clear mugs on a blue and white tablescape
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5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine, (recommended Cabernet Sauvignon) 
  • 1/2 cup cognac orange liqueur or apple cider 
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 orange or 2 tangerines, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients into a pot and stir to combine on medium heat. To store leftovers, allow the wine to come to room temperature and strain fruit and spices. I like to pour in a mason jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Heat until the wine just reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes. (Avoid letting it boil — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol or become bitter).
  • Keep warm in a slow cooker for up to 3 hours.
  • Serve warm in mugs or glasses with some of the cooked fruit and spices.

Notes

  • Use any inexpensive red you like - Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, or Malbec.
  • Making a big batch? Consider opting for a box of red, which holds four 750-ml bottles
  • Feel free to substitute Cointreau, Triple Sec, or any other orange liqueur
  • Like sweet wine? Add brown sugar or honey.
  • Want a G-rated version of mulled wine? Opt for a dealcoholized red and apple cider instead of red wine and cognac.

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 85mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 66IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Photography by Jenna Sparks