If mulled wine reminds you of Christmas in Europe, you’ve probably been to Europe during the holidays. Mulled wine has become an integral part of the winter holidays in the majority of European countries, each with their own unique take on the hot beverage.
Mulled wine made its first appearance during the 2nd century at the hands of the Romans who would heat wine to protect their bodies against the cold winter. As they traveled and conquered much of Europe, their love of mulled wine spread with them across their empire. The current resurgence came in the 1890’s when wine merchants began bottling and selling their own versions for the holidays. Over the decades to come, mulled wine became a global sensation, with countries all over the world creating their own unique blends. Variations now include everything from red and white wines to sangria blends and vermouth to port – each country’s method slightly different from the next.
Depending on the country, mulled wine is known by various names—glühwein, glögg, vin chaud, bischopswijn – but no matter the name, all mulled wines feature red wine steeped with a mix of warming winter spices.
Check out some of our favorite recipes and heat up the celebration during National Mulled Wine Day on March 3rd!
Simple Mulled Wine
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 4 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish
- Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
- 2 bottles dry red wine
- ½ cup corn syrup or golden syrup
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- Combine both bottles of wine, corn syrup, honey, water, orange peel, cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg in a 4-quart crockpot and stir well to combine.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours, stirring once during cooking.
- Remove orange peel and cinnamon stick before serving, if desired. Place a thin orange slice in the bottom of each mug and spoon the hot wine over the orange using a large ladle.
Vin Brulé (Italian Mulled Wine)
- ⅓ cup sugar or honey
- 2 tbsp. orange zest
- 4 tbsp. orange juice (juice of 1 orange–use a vegetable peeler to create the strips of zest, being careful to make them thin and avoiding the bitter white pith)
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon; same method as for the orange)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 pinch nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 1 bottle of full-bodied red wine
- ¼-inch ginger (fresh, peeled and bruised with the back of a chef’s knife)
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ vanilla pod
- 10 whole allspice berries
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 to 2 bay leaves
- In a non-reactive, heavy pot (an enamel-lined Dutch oven is ideal for this because it holds heat well to keep your mulled wine warm once it’s ready), mix the sugar or honey, citrus zest, orange juice, and spices.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar or honey is dissolved and an aromatic syrup has formed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then lower the heat to low and add the wine. Bring to just a bare simmer and continue over low heat for about 15 minutes or until wine is flavorful. Be careful not to let the wine boil, which adversely affects the flavor.
- Ladle through a fine-mesh strainer into mugs or heat-resistant glasses to serve. You can garnish each mug with an orange slice or stick of cinnamon if desired. Serve steaming hot.
Vin Chaud (French Mulled Wine)
- 1 navel orange
- 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 2 cardamon pods
- ¼ cup cognac
- With a sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler, cut or peel a strip of skin from the orange, approximately 1 x 5 inches in size. Carefully remove as much of the white pith from the zest as you can, since it will add bitterness to the wine. Set orange aside for another use.
- Combine wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and peeled orange zest in a large saucepan over very low heat.
- Heat wine until it nearly reaches a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Do not allow wine to come to a boil, or the alcohol will evaporate and the flavor of the vin chaud will be affected. The wine will be at its optimal temperature when the sugar has dissolved and steam rises when the mixing spoon is lifted from the wine.
- Maintain this temperature to keep the wine warm and let the wine steep with the spices to develop flavor and strength to your taste. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor.
- Strain the wine through a fine-mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined colander into a clean saucepan. Discard the spices.
- Cover the pan and let the vin chaud stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of cognac to a warmed mug or heatproof glass and then ladle in the mulled wine.
- Serve and enjoy.
Grzaniec Galicyjski (Polish Mulled Wine)
- 1 quart dry red wine
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 cloves (partially crushed)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf (cracked in half)
- In a large saucepan, combine the red wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf.
- Heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring just to the boil and immediately remove from the heat.
- Strain and pour into hot mugs.
- Serve and enjoy
Bischopswijn (Dutch Mulled Wine)
- 1½ bottles of red wine
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 15 cloves (approximately)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup white sugar
- Decant the wine into a large, thick-bottomed soup pot.
- Spike the oranges and lemon with the cloves, and add to the wine, along with the cinnamon sticks.
- Heat slowly over very low heat for 3 hours. The liquid should not boil. (This would make the alcohol evaporate.)
- Add the sugar towards the end, and make sure that it dissolves completely.
- Remove the fruit and spices and serve.