Festive Mulled Wine Recipe – 5 Star Reviews!

No holiday celebration or Christmas market is complete without a batch of mulled wine. Mulled wine, also called Glühwein in Germany or vin chaud in France, is a hot wine-based drink that conjures images of a cold winter night and holiday celebrations.

This easy winter drink recipe, made by warming red wine with various spices like cinnamon and cloves, along with a touch of sweetness from honey or sugar, is one of the original mulled wine recipes ever posted online. It was originally posted back in 2015!

I alternate this spiced wine recipe with Coquito, aka Puerto Rican Egg Nog, during the holiday season. Let the kids have the hot chocolate.

Ingredients required to make mulled wine.

Mulled Wine Recipe

Mulled wine recipes all vary, but the general ingredients remain the same. Here are the ingredients you need to make a batch of the best mulled wine recipe:

  • Red Wine – grab a bottle of wine you enjoy drinking.
  • Brandy – this is not the time to bust out your high end brand as you’ll only need 1 cup of brandy.
  • Whole Spices – must have spices are cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and star anise. 
  • Fresh Oranges – you’ll use the juice and the rind.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup – I prefer honey, but maple syrup works just as well.

Mulling Spices

Mulling spices are what sets mulled wine apart from “warm red wine”. Mulled Wine can be made with a variety of spices and fruits. It’s like the “winter version” of red sangria. Who doesn’t like sangria? A traditional recipe includes a mix of the below warm spices:

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Orange Slices
  • Whole Cloves
  • Star Anise Pods
  • Cardamom Pods
glühwein in a silver saucepan.

Garnish Ideas

The best mulled wine recipes are garnished with some fun and festive ingredients. My favorites are ingredients that are used in the recipe itself.

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Orange Peel
  • Apple Slices
  • Raisins
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Star Anise Pods
  • Whole Cloves
  • Candy Cane

How To Make In The Slow Cooker

This simple mulled wine recipe is very easy to make in the slow cooker. When stovetop space is at a premium, being able to make slow cooker mulled wine is key.  To make, throw all the ingredients into the slower cooker and set it on the lowest setting as you do not want the mix to boil. Let mellow for two hours before serving.

Red wine being poured into a silver saucepan.

How To Make On The Stove

To make German mulled wine on the stove top: 

  • Add the wine, brandy, honey, orange juice, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Do not let boil! Boiling it will burn off the booze.
  • Once almost simmering, reduce the heat to low for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • Strain into mugs and garnish. Serve warm.

Best Red Wine To Use

The best wine to use is a dry red wine you enjoy drinking. Since this recipe calls for a full bottle of dry red wine you don’t want to go bottom shelf here. The spices won’t mask the taste of swill. My favorite varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. If you have a Costco membership I actually use the large bottle of Kirkland brand Cabernet Sauvignon.

Two glasses of mulled wine with garnishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Ground Spices

You can, but it’s not ideal as it won’t be as smooth to drink.

Can I Make A Booze-Free Version?

How To Store Mulled Wine

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat just transfer to a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until warm. 

Saucepan of warm red wine being poured through a sieve.

glühwein

What’s the difference between Glühwein and mulled wine? While Glühwein and mulled wine are similar, there are some differences.

Mulled Wine – Recipes for mulled wine can vary widely depending on the region and personal preference. Common ingredients include red wine, various mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and sometimes citrus fruits. Sweeteners like sugar or honey are often added.

Glühwein – The recipe for Glühwein is typically more standardized and includes red wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar, and sometimes vanilla pods. The spice mix is quite specific and consistent in Glühwein.

Let the season roll off your tongue this holiday. From the first sip to the last, this warm drink will be the hit of your Christmas time holiday parties. Throwing a holiday party this year? Make sure to check out our huge list of Christmas Party Themes.

Glass of Mulled Wine with cinnamon stick and cranberries.

If you’re looking for holiday drink recipes, don’t miss our Lemon Drop Martini, Pomegranate Champagne Punch or Fruit Punch Martini. Both are festive in flavor and color.

Skol!

This recipe was originally posted in December 2015, but has been updated with new photos and additional text.

Mulled Wine

No holiday celebration or Christmas market is complete without a batch of mulled wine. Mulled wine, also called Glühwein in Germany or vin chaud in France, is a hot wine-based drink that conjures images of a cold winter night and holiday celebrations.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Course: Drinks

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Drink Recipe

Calories: 292kcal

Author: Darcey Olson

Cost: $15

STOVE TOP

  • Combine the wine, brandy, honey, orange juice, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

  • Once simmering, reduce the heat to low for a minimum of 20 minutes.

  • Strain into mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks, orange peels or the like!

SLOW COOKER

  • Combine the wine, brandy, honey, orange juice, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a slow cooker over high heat. Let simmer for at least 1 hour.

  • Strain into mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks, orange peels or the like!

Add the spices to a cheesecloth and place in the saucepan if you prefer to omit the straining at the end of the cook time. The longer this simmers the more the flavors will evolve. Feel free to leave this simmering for up to 2 hours (supervised).

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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