Mulled Wine Recipes and Traditions for the Holidays

Mulled Wine sign on window.

Baby, it’s cold outside! You know what that means! It’s time for mulled wine. That warm, spiced wine that fills your home with the smells of the holidays. Mmmm. There is nothing better!

What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is red wine infused with spices, slowly heated, and consumed around the holidays. This warm beverage is loved around the world and each country has its own name for it like Glühwein (German), Glögg / Gløgg / Glögi (Nordic), Vin Chaud (France), Vin Brulé (Italy), Mulled Wine (British), and on and on. All of them translate to something like “hot wine” or “spiced wine.”

Making Mulled Wine

Pot of mulled wine with oranges and spices floating on top.

Deciding on a mulled wine recipe is like deciding on a chili recipe. There are never-ending variations. It just depends on what flavor you’re going for.

The most common ingredients found in mulled wine are a bottle of inexpensive red wine, an orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and cloves. Beyond those ingredients, there are optional takes on this classic holiday drink.

  • Non-Alcohol Version: You can create a mulled wine with or without alcohol. For the non-alcohol version, use fruit juices like grape juice.

  • Optional Spices: Use other spices like cardamom, ginger, or vanilla pods.

  • Optional Spirits: Add brandy, rum, or port to give it a sweet, caramelized flavor.

  • Sugar: Many recipes call for adding sugar or honey. This decision all depends on whether you are adding the brandy, rum, or port. These are all high in sugar content and the added sugar or honey may not be needed.

You can find ready-made mixed spices to use, but the homemade version is so much better. And make sure to use whole spices because you can easily strain the spices out of the wine before serving. If you prefer to use ground spices, then place them in cheesecloth to soak in the w