As the crisp air of autumn and winter sets in, there’s nothing quite like wrapping your hands around a warm mug of aromatic mulled wine. If you want to know how to make mulled wines then this timeless beverage, steeped in tradition and comfort is a great way to impress. It is steeped in a symphony of flavours and fragrances that can instantly transport you to a festive state of mind.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make mulled wine at home, you’re in for a treat.
Here, the Christmas.co.uk team will unravel the art of crafting this heartwarming elixir with a simple yet irresistible mulled wine recipe.
From the rich hues of red wine to the subtle dance of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, join us as we take you through the step-by-step process of creating a beverage that not only warms the body but also soothes the soul.
Whether you’re hosting a gathering, enjoying a quiet evening by the fireplace, or simply seeking a delightful way to embrace the season, our mulled wine recipes are a gateway to a cup of pure comfort and joy.
Different mulled wine recipes
Mulled wine is a warming festive treat enjoyed by people worldwide. Each country has its own unique twist on this Christmas classic, so if you’re a lover of a mug of spiced red, check out these recipes from around the globe.
In Nordic countries, mulled wine is called Glogg. In this freezing part of the world, they have been drinking warm wine spiked with healing herbs and spices for generations. Indeed, it is thanks to their devotion that this cheering tipple is now also enjoyed in other European countries like the UK.
The Swedes and Norwegians use a fruity red wine and add traditional spices such as cloves, cinnamon and star anise. Once the flavours have been infused and the wine is warm, they add a generous glug of orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier.
In Quebec, mulled wine is called Caribou, as it closely resembles the blood of this much-hunted animal. Their base is a classic spiced red wine fragranced with vanilla and ginger. However, the Canadians like sweetness and fire in their mulled wine and add sticky maple syrup and sortilege, a blend of whiskey and maple syrup.
Vin Brule means ‘burnt wine,’ and it is the mulled wine that the upper classes of the Roman Empire would have sipped. The Romans were great lovers of mulled wine as they believed the heat and spices protected their bodies from the effects of cold and infection.
1 bottle of red wine
2 anise stars
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom seeds
1 cup of sugar
- Remove the citrus rinds taking off all the bitter white pith.
- Add the rinds, spices, and sugar and simmer on a medium heat.
- When warmed through cover the pan and let the wine rest.
- After half an hour, add a splash of brandy, sieve out the bits and serve.
Greyano Vino is one of the more unusual versions of mulled wine we have discovered. The sweetness that usually balances the spice is missing; the Bulgarians add a big pinch of black peppercorns and bay leaves. This big hit of sharp woody flavour creates a drink that tastes medicinal to most palates.
Gluhwein is the mulled wine sold in chunky mugs on Christmas markets in the UK. It is sweet with a syrupy texture and is often served with a garnish of orange or a cinnamon stick. Gluhwein means ‘glow wine,’ an excellent description for a spiced beverage that warms you from the inside out. Of all the mulled wine recipes, Gluhwein is the simplest.
- Bring the water, sugar, and a cinnamon stick to a boil. Reduce to a slow simmer.
- Half an orange, squeeze and add the juice.
- Push cloves into orange peel and add to the gently simmering brew.
- Leave the mixture to thicken and become syrupy.
- Take off the heat.
- Add fruity, non-oaked red wine such as merlot to the syrup once it has cooled a little.
How to make mulled wine
All warming mugs of delicious, mulled wine start with good quality but not expensive red wine. The perfect options are young wines with fruit as the dominant flavour. Your base wine should be a relatively young choice – certainly nothing that has been heavily oaked when it has been aged. The result will taste astringent (like licking a banana peel). We recommend an Australian merlot with plum flavours or a jammy Shiraz with lots of blackcurrant and cherry.
You’ll need a saucepan with a thick base, medium heat, and ideally, heat it on a responsive hob such as gas or induction so you can control the simmer.
Christmas.co.uk top tip: The key to mulling wine and then re-heating it is not to boil it; if you do, it will taste bitter.
The combination and proportion of spices you use will depend on personal preference. If you love a sweet, mulled wine, add extra cinnamon and vanilla; if you prefer a sharp and spicy hit, add an extra clove, more ginger a smidge of star anise.
For a flavourful mulled wine recipe that can be altered to suit your tastebuds, check out this fantastic video from Good Housekeeping below, a trusted publication that adores all things Christmas.
Classic Mulled wine – Good Housekeeping
Indulge in a great mulled wine offering with this fail-safe creation from Good Housekeeping.
This is the festivities in a glass, blending the warmth of red wine with the quintessential notes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and more.
Start by pouring your favourite red wine into a big pan.
Add orange slices, dried apricots, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Then add grated nutmeg, vanilla paste and three tablespoons of caster sugar.
Simmer this mixture for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the medley is harmoniously infused, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to steep for 30 minutes.
The mix is then reheated until hot and then served in heatproof glasses or mugs.
This is a quick and simple recipe that really does hit the tasty, mulled wine target!
What spices should I use?
Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom and star anise are classic. For a luxurious taste, always use whole spices, for example, cinnamon sticks rather than powder and vanilla pods rather than essence.
If you prefer a sweeter flavour, add apricots and honey, for a citrus punch, chuck in lemon, orange rind, and juice. Many people also add a shot of orange liqueur or brandy for a boozy kick.
Mulled wine alternatives
Non-alcoholic mulled wine can be made from red grape juice or pomegranate and apple juice.
If you often have unexpected guests at Christmas or don’t want to invest in pots of expensive spices you’ll never use again, look for sachets of mulling spices or ready-to-drink bottles of mulled wine.
If you don’t like wine, mulled cider is an equally festive alternative that works beautifully with calvados liqueur, cinnamon, dark brown sugar and cloves.
Celebrity mulled wine recipes
James Martins’ poached pears with mulled wine
This simple recipe is an excellent way to use up any leftover mulled wine. It would make an elegant dessert for a Boxing Day or New Year dinner party.
- 1 bottle of red wine
- Four halved and peeled pears
- 50g of caster sugar
- One vanilla pod
- 300 ml water
- 100ml of port
- Rind of a lemon
- Rind of an orange
- Five cloves
- Five juniper berries
- Two cinnamon sticks
Poach the pears in a pan with the sugar, vanilla, port, water, spices and the wine, then add the lemon and orange rinds.
Bring to a boil before simmering for 10 minutes and then pour into jars and allow to cool. Seal the jars tight.
Serve the pears with ice cream and drizzle some of the mulled wine onto them. Delicious!
Nigella Lawson’s Mulled Wine from How to be a Domestic Goddess
Nigella is the Queen of Christmas, and we love her quirky mulled wine recipe which goes beautifully with a plate of mince pies. The dark rum and muscovado sugar add a decadent richness and the citrus notes in Earl Grey tea complements the flavour of the lemon and orange rinds.
- One bottle of red wine
- 60ml of dark rum
- 125 ml of Earl Grey tea
- One orange cut into quarters
- One clove in each quarter of the orange
- Two cinnamon sticks
- One star anise
- One tablespoon of dark muscovado sugar
- One tablespoon of honey
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring them almost to a boil then simmer on a low heat to let the flavours develop.
Take note, Nigella’s recipe for Swedish Glogg includes 150ml of vodka and a garnish of raisins and almonds; another delightful, mulled wine recipe that would be perfect for a Christmas party.