Mulling Spices for Apple Cider and Red Wine

Mulling spice mixture with cinnamon chips, allspice berries, and bits of crystallized ginger

The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 14 servings
Yield: 14 spice bags
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
44 Calories
1g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14
Amount per serving
Calories 44
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 7mg 35%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 99mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Mulled wine or apple cider are welcome hot beverages at fall and winter gatherings; the warm spices offer a comforting flavor and add a special touch to any party. And mulling spices have a side benefit—your house smells wonderful when guests arrive.

This spice mix makes a nice gift for friends who enjoy mulled cider or red wine. If you are giving spice bags as a present, be sure to include recipe instructions for how to use it at home. For at-home storage, keep the bags in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

For this recipe, you will need 14 five-inch squares of double-layer cheesecloth and 14 (10-inch) lengths of white string.


Click Play to See These Mulling Spices Come Together

"Mulling spices make a great gift, especially for teachers (with a bottle of wine or a jug of apple cider). They also do double-duty as potpourri. This recipe reminds me of the holidays and apple-picking season. Loved it!" —Diana Andrews

Mulling Spices for Apple Cider and Red Wine Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 ounces cinnamon sticks

  • 6 whole nutmeg

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried orange peel

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried lemon peel

  • 1/4 cup allspice berries

  • 1/4 cup whole cloves

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for mulling spice mixture recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  2. Place the cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a heavy-duty freezer bag, press the air out, and seal.

     Cinnamon sticks and nutmegs in a heavy-duty freezer bag

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  3. Pound the spices with the bottom of a rolling pin, small heavy skillet, or kitchen mallet to break them into small pieces.

    Crushed cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a heavy-duty freezer bag

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  4. Place the crushed spices in a bowl and stir in the orange peel, lemon peel, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger.

    Orange and lemon peel, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  5. Place about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center of each 5-inch square of double-layer cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can use empty single-serve tea filter bags.

    Spice mixture mounded in the center of a square piece of cheesecloth

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

  6. Tie the cloth securely with string and use it to prepare mulled cider or wine.

    Cheesecloth tied into a bag with butcher twine

    The Spruce Eats / Emily Baker

How to Use

  • Each bag will spice 3 1/4 cups (a 750-ml bottle) of red wine or 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of apple cider.
  • To make mulled red wine, combine the wine, 1/3 cup honey or sugar, and the spice pouch in a pot. Warm over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring once in a while to make sure the sweetener is dissolved. Ladle the liquid into mugs, discarding the spice pouch.
  • To make mulled apple cider, all you need is the spice pouch and cider. Just place in a pot, bring the mix to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for about half an hour. Discard the spice pouch, and serve the hot cider in mugs.


  • Mulling covers up many of the subtleties of wine, so don't waste money on the really good stuff. Look around on the middle shelves for medium-priced bottles—not too cheap, but not much more than twenty dollars.
  • You want a big, bold, dry red wine to shine through the mulling so you don't get a mouthful dominated by the spices. Go with a Malbec, Zinfandel, or Syrah/Shiraz. Blends are usually cheaper; a blend of two or even three of these varieties would be a fine choice.