Mulled Wine Recipe Ideas
Wine lover or not, most people enjoy a good mulled wine recipe. Mulled wine conjures up images of holiday celebrations, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve when it can be bitingly cold outside, but inside the air is filled with homey, sweet and spicy aromas. Thoughts of fireside chats after skiing, ice skating, or snowmobiling with a cup of warmth in hand also come to mind.
Famous Mulled Wine Recipe
My first experience with a mulled wine recipe was year ago when I was invited to go on a snowmobiling trail ride with my best friend Barb and her family. For those of you who are not snowmobilers, a snowmobile trail ride is when a group of people, each on their own snowmobile, or doubling up on one, during winters with heavy snowfall, follow each other along a country trail that is typically already groomed for such purposes.
In the small rural town in Wisconsin where I grew up, snowmobiling was a huge winter activity. For some people a snowmobile trail ride was another version of “bar hopping”. A trail group would ride for a while along wintery forest paths or in the snow-filled ditches along country dirt roads with the cold air biting at their faces, and then, seeking warmth, they would stop at a tavern to warm up.
After a warming drink, the group would ride again in the same way to the next bar on the map. So the order of the day was – ride, warm up, repeat.
For other snowmobilers, it was a way to spend the day with nature at its wintery best. With bright blue skies overhead and the sun gleaming like crystals on the freshly fallen snow, or even under dark starry nights when the steam from their breath cut the air, the snowmobilers would take off through the woods, stopping once in a while in the middle of some big pond or lake to warm up. That might seem a little incongruous – stopping in the middle of a lake, in the dead of winter, to of all things, warm up – but this is where the mulled wine recipe comes into play.
I was on just such a trail ride, sitting on the back of Barb’s snowmobile freezing my fanny off. Many avid snowmobilers have “snowmobile suits” that are typically a one-piece, shoulders to ankle, garment that is nicely padded for warmth. But, I was a guest on this trail ride and new to the experience, so I was not so well prepared for the cold.
So, you can imagine my amazement when we stopped in the middle of Hall’s Lake to warm up. Yet, warm up we did, when Barb’s dad opened a steaming thermos of what he called his “famous mulled wine recipe” and poured out a mug for everyone. Oh my gosh, it was amazingly delicious! The warm concoction filled the air with its spicy, sweet aroma. As I sipped on this delicious drink, I soon forgot how cold I’d been.
What’s in a Mulled Wine Recipe?
Mulled wine is wine that has been spiced, sweetened, heated, and allowed to simmer for a bit so that the ingredients have time to blend together. Red wine is typically used in the recipe but the use of white wine in a mulled wine recipe is not unheard of.
Medium-full bodied red wines rich in black currant, plum, and blackberry flavors are excellent choices for your mulled wine recipe. Experiment with recipes using different wine types until you find a favorite. Good red wine types include:
· Cabernet Sauvignon
· Zinfandel (Red)
Spices used in the mulled wine recipe vary, but typically include a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Sugar or honey is used to sweeten the beverage. Oranges are often included in the recipe as well, brightening the concoction with a bit of zest.
Other variations to mulled wine can include:
· Orange slices and/or orange zest
· Lemon slices and/or lemon zest
· Brown Sugar
You can purchase pre-packaged mulling spices from a grocery store, particularly during the winter months. However, the individual ingredients in a mulled spice recipe are very easy to find and the steps are quite simple to follow. You can quickly brew up a pot of mulled wine the old fashion way – from scratch.
A Great Mulled Wine Recipe
I never obtained a copy of the “famous” mulled wine recipe from my friend’s dad. Fortunately, there are many recipes available for making this delicious drink. Unfortunately, with so many recipes to choose from, each one offering an ever so slight variation in ingredients, it’s difficult to know which recipe to use.
We have some great mulled wine recipes to get you started. Along with a “traditional” mulled wine recipe, we have several variations that are just as delicious in their own way. You can easily adjust the ingredients to your liking. For example, if you prefer a less sweetened beverage, simply reduce the amount of sugar or honey.
The recipes are simple to follow. In no time at all, you will be enjoying a mulled wine recipe. Serve one at your next holiday party and your guests will be raving about your culinary skills for a long time!
Simple Mulled Wine Recipe
- 1 750 ml bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, or Red Zinfandel
- 1 cup orange juice
- 10 whole cloves
- 3 small (app. 3-4 inches) cinnamon sticks
- 1 large unpeeled orange, sliced thin
- 1-1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 6-8 more cinnamon sticks to garnish mugs
Wrap the cloves and cinnamon sticks in cheese cloth, tie cloth up into a pouch, and then toss the pouch, along with the other ingredients into a non-aluminum pot*.
Warm the mixture for about 20 minutes on a low to medium setting, stirring the pot occasionally.
Do not boil, but make sure the sugar is dissolved.
When heated through, remove the cheese cloth pouch.
Serve warm and garnished with cinnamon sticks.
*The acids found in wine react to aluminum and will skew the taste of your mulled wine. Use a steel pot, a slow cooker, or some other non-aluminum vessel to heat the mulled wine.
Mulled Wine with Brandy
If you enjoy the taste of Brandy, this recipe might be a great alternative mulled wine recipe for you!
- 1 750 ml bottle red wine, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Red Zinfandel
- 1/2 -2/3 cup sugar or honey (more or less depending upon how sweet you like it)
- 1/4 cup brandy (added last)
- 8-10 cloves
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (for ground ginger use 2 teaspoons)
- 1 orange peeled first and then thinly sliced (keep peel for adding zest to taste)
Wrap the spices (except the ginger) in a cheese cloth, tie it to make a pouch, and place the pouch, as well as the remaining ingredients – except the brandy – into a large non-aluminum pot.
Set burner to medium-low heat and slowly warm for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sweetener (sugar or honey) should be completely dissolved, but do not boil the ingredients.
When the wine has finished heating, add the brandy to the pot and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
Remove cheese cloth pouch, and serve warm.
Mulled Wine with Splenda
Some people either cannot or do not want to use added sugar in their diet. For those we offer this recipe using the sugar substitute, Splenda. (However, wine will have its own volume of sugar.)
- 6 cups red wine (added last)
- 5-6 Tbsps. of Splenda
- 1/4 cup water
- 8-10 whole cloves
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 4 sticks of cinnamon
- 6 more sticks of cinnamon for garnish
Before slicing the orange, stick the cloves into the rind for easy removal when the mulled wine is finished.
Add all the ingredients, except for the red wine, to a non-aluminum pot. Heat the mixture slowly on a low to medium setting until the Splenda dissolves, but do not boil. Stir occasionally.
Once the mixture is heated, stir in the red wine and continue heating, without boiling, until the mulled wine is hot.
Serve warm, garnishing heated mugs with cinnamon sticks.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine with Star Anise
- 2 750 ml bottles of Shiraz, or similar dry red wine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 1 tsp. cloves, whole
- Orange peels from 1 orange
- Juice squeezed from the orange (strained for seeds)
Pare the orange using a vegetable peeler, making long strips. Place the orange peelings, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves onto a square of cheese cloth. Bring up the edges of the cheese cloth and tie them, making a spice pouch.
Add the spice pouch along with the remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on the low heat position for 6 hours. For a quicker version, cook the mixture on high heat for 2.5 hours.
“White” Mulled Wine
- 2 750 ml bottles of a light, dry white wine, such as Riesling
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbsps. rosemary
- 2 lemons, peeled
Place the water, sugar, honey, and rosemary in a non-aluminum pan and heat on a low to medium setting for about 10 minutes, just long enough to dissolve the sugar and honey. Do not boil.
Add in the white wine.
Peel the lemons using a vegetable peeler, and then add the peelings to the mixture.
Continue heating for another 20 minutes at the same temperature, without boiling. Turn down the heat if the concoction starts to get too hot.
Serve warm, ladling the mixture into heated mugs.
For a mulled non-alcoholic beverage, simply switch out the red wine for apple cider or cranberry juice. Most spices used in a red mulled wine recipe are just as delicious using these ingredients