Spiced Mulled Wine

Two mugs of mulled spiced wine
The Spruce
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
195 Calories
0g Fat
23g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 195
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 220mg 5%
*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, the wine drinker's version of a classic hot toddy, is a traditional holiday treat in many Old World countries. Dubbed "glögg" in Nordic nations and "glühwein" in Germany, mulled wine has been warming people up since Roman times when people heated up their wine to offset harsh winter weather. Typically made with red wine, this sweetened, spiced, and heated mixture offers a delightful alternative to traditional hot coffees and ciders. Brandy adds a little extra sweetness.

Although heating up the wine will evaporate some of the alcohol content, this is still an alcoholic drink, enhanced also by the addition of brandy. It's ideal for cold winter days or nights, or holiday gatherings—there is nothing cozier than a toasty mug of mulled wine. Lightly sweet, spiced, and fruity, it will warm you from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange, peeled and sliced, peel reserved

  • 8 to 10 whole cloves

  • 3 medium cinnamon sticks

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup brandy

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for mulled wine
    The Spruce
  2. To make the perfect cup of mulled wine, combine all of the ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker.

    Mulled wine ingredients in a stockpot

    The Spruce

  3. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Avoid boiling or simmering.

  4. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has dissolved completely. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have been infused, it is ready to serve.

    Mugs of homemade mulled wine with orange slices and cinnamon sticks

    The Spruce

  5. Ladle the mulled wine into mugs. Leave the whole seasonings behind, or strain the mulled wine before serving. Garnish each mug with a slice of orange and a stick of cinnamon. Enjoy!

Tips

A fruit-forward wine is best for this recipe. Wines with very nuanced flavors will be lost to the spices, brandy, and fruit. Try a dark, fruity red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo, grenache, zinfandel, or merlot. Choose a bottle of wine that you'd drink as-is: the quality of the mulled wine depends on the quality of the wine. A moderately-priced, good quality wine will do just fine, but avoid cheap or boxed wines as they'll yield a low-quality spiced wine.

How to Store and Freeze Mulled Wine

You can mull the wine 2 to 3 days ahead of when you would like to consume it. Let it cool completely, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate. When you are ready, reheat it on the stovetop over low heat.

You can also freeze mulled wine. Try freezing it in ice cube trays, or in a separate container. Its flavor may slightly alter during the freezing and thawing process. You can reheat it and drink it hot, or turn it into a wine slushie.

Making Large Batches of Mulled Wine


  • To double the recipe, use two bottles of wine (or one magnum) and double the remaining ingredients. However, start with half the amount of honey or sugar, taste halfway through the cooking process, and adjust if needed. The honey can make a very sweet beverage, and when cooking the wine, the flavor can get too intense.
  • Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker or leave in a pot on the lowest possible setting to keep warm without overcooking. If the mixture spends too much time on the heat, the flavor can become too intense since some of the water evaporates off.
  • Toss in a few whole, fresh cranberries at the end for a festive look.

How Strong is a Mug of Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine without brandy has an average ABV of eight to 13 percent (26 proof) per mug, like a normal glass of wine (in a 5-ounce serving). But when spiced with Brandy at 60 percent ABV (120 proof) the alcohol content can increase to 16 to 18 percent (32 to 36 proof) per mug. Consider that there's going to be some evaporation, but not enough to considerably diminish the percentage of alcohol.