You may know mulled wine as gluhwein or glogg, but the direct translation from the French vin chaud is "hot wine." The warming drink is a traditional holiday-time treat that is as delicious as it is easy to make.
Many pre-mulled, just-heat-it-up versions are available for sale, and some of them even reflect the regional differences between the many areas of Europe and their preferences in spices and flavoring. But homemade mulled wine is so easy to make and so easy to customize that you may want to try it for your next holiday party.
Remember that the better the bottle of wine you use, the better the end result would be. No need to splurge—simply find a nice bottle of dry red wine that you'd normally drink during a meal.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine (dry)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish, if desired)
- 2 juniper berries
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 orange (cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices)
Gather the ingredients.
Pour the bottle of red wine into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and spices.
Bring the mixture to a very low simmer over very low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Avoid bubbling on the sides of the pan; if you see too many bubbles it means there is too much heat. This will burn off the alcohol content of the wine, alter its balance, and/or bring out unwanted bitterness in the spices. Keep this low simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the orange slices to the wine, and, keeping a very gentle simmer, "mull" the wine for about 10 minutes.
Strain the mixture into mugs and serve hot. Use a wine-infused orange slice in each cup for decoration, or put a fresh cinnamon stick in each cup as a garnish.
You can adjust the sweetness, swap out spices and fruit, and more to make this recipe your own:
- Make the final drink sweeter by adding more sugar, a little at a time, or rim the cups with cinnamon sugar.
- Use honey or agave syrup in place of the brown sugar.
- Plop a whole nutmeg in the pot or add a few gratings of nutmeg to each cup before pouring the hot wine.
- Add slices of lemon, pear, or apple along with or in place of the orange (Meyer lemons are a particularly delightful twist).
- Add a splash of brandy or rum three minutes before turning the heat off.
- Make a British version using port instead of dry red wine, but skip the sugar as port is already very sweet.
- Make a German version using fruit wine like raspberry or blueberry wine instead of the red dry wine.
- Add dried fruit such as raisins, currants, or figs; fish them out before serving and use the fruit to make fruit cake. Eating the wine-soaked fruit at the end can also be part of the treat.