Mulled wine is one of my favorite things about winter. No matter how cold or dreary it is outside, a cup of hot spiced wine is guaranteed to warm your body and your spirit.
It’s also super easy to make, and you can even make it ahead for a party; just put all the ingredients in a pot and start warming them a few minutes before guests arrive. (Bonus: It will make your house smell amazing.)
Want an even more hands-off approach? You can also make mulled wine in a slow cooker!
The History of Mulled Wine
Humans have been drinking heated, spiced wine for a long time, at least since Roman times. (According to Vinepair, the Greeks did it, too.) This persisted throughout the Middle Ages, because, as you may learn when you make it, heating and adding spices to wine is a great way to make not-great wine taste really good.
Hot spiced wine is a holiday tradition throughout the world. In Germany it’s known as Glühwein, and in the Nordic countries as Glögg.
What Kind of Wine Is Best for Mulled Wine?
An inexpensive big, rich red – like a Cabernet or a Malbec – is a good choice for mulled wine.
This is definitely NOT the time to pull out a really nice wine; in fact, I usually make mulled wine with the lowest priced bottle I can find because the spices and the orange mask the nuances of a more expensive wine. You can even use the Charles Shaw brand of wine from Trader Joe’s (colloquially known as Two-Buck Chuck) or boxed wine for this; just make note of how many bottles are in the box and adjust proportions accordingly.
What Spices Are Best for Mulled Wine?
I like cinnamon and clove for their warmth and flavor, and ginger adds a little zip. (Try it, if you don’t believe me.) This mulled wine is sharp and spicy, enough to warm you up, wake you up, and then relax you again.
Adding Brandy or Liqueurs to Mulled Wine
Brandy, a spirit made from distilled wine, adds extra oomph to mulled wine, which is why I include it here. However, you could add a little Applejack, pear brandy, or pear liqueur instead. (Apples and pears play very nicely with spices, and also with wine.)