Hot Mulled Mead Cocktail Recipe

Our hot mulled mead cocktail is filled with the scent and flavor of winter spices, bringing a dose of warmth to a cold winter night when paired with an unusual liqueur. Take a sip from this ancient recipe for a trip into the pages of your favorite fantasy book.

According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, mead, often associated with Vikings and medieval times, makes for a unique twist on the traditional mulled wines usually enjoyed this time of year. This honey-based drink has been cooked with spices for centuries, and our recipe pairs it with brandy, citrus, ginger, and warming spices for a cozy winter cocktail.

To make this winter cocktail, you'll bring mead, brandy, and an assortment of aromatic ingredients like allspice, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and fresh nutmeg to a gentle simmer in a pot. Once infused with flavor, strain the mixture into mugs to sip. With its spiced-up mead base and a touch of brandy, this hot drink provides both comfort and sophistication, making it the perfect companion to cold nights spent curled up by the fireplace.

Gather the Ingredients for this hot mulled mead cocktail

To create this comforting winter warmer, you will need mead, brandy, and whole spices including allspice and cloves. In that same thread, you'll also need cardamom pods for both flavoring the drink and garnishing each serving, a fresh knob of ginger to lend its warming properties, cinnamon stick for its familiar winter flavor, and freshly grated nutmeg. Fresh orange juice will provide bright citrus notes, honey will balance the ingredients with subtle sweetness, and dried orange slices make for the perfect final garnish.

Step 1: Add spirits

Pour the mead and brandy into a large pot.

Step 2: Add spices

Add the allspice, cloves, and 4 cardamom pods.

Step 3: Add ginger and cinnamon

Add the ginger and cinnamon stick.

Step 4: Grate nutmeg

Grate fresh nutmeg into the pot.

Step 5: Add some citrus

Squeeze in the orange juice.

Step 6: Sweeten it up

Drizzle in the honey.

Step 7: Simmer

Bring ingredients to a simmer on the stove for 10 minutes then remove from heat.

Step 8: Strain

Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and pour it into glasses.

Step 9: Garnish

Garnish each glass with a dried orange slice and the remaining cardamom pods, then serve.

If you can't find mead, what else can you use in this cocktail?

While mead is traditionally used in this mulled beverage recipe, there are suitable substitutes that can be used if mead is unavailable or too difficult to find. Hard cider makes a great replacement choice, as its apple notes blend well with the warming spices. Cider also has a similar alcohol level to mead. Another option is a dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. As with cider, the fruit flavors complement the cinnamon, ginger and other seasonings.

You can also use a fruity wheat beer in place of mead. Look for one with notes of apples, pears, or berries. Like mead, these substitutes provide the alcoholic base to carry the spices. Using cider, wine or fruity beer allows you to enjoy the cozy flavors of mulled mead even without the specialty ingredient. Just be sure to adjust the sweetness based on what liquor you use as the base, with beer and wine likely requiring more honey added than mead or cider would.

Can you avoid adding honey to this mead cocktail?

Yes, you can make this mulled mead cocktail without adding honey. Since mead itself is made from fermented honey, the spirit you use will already contribute natural honey flavors and sweetness to the drink. Depending on the particular brand of mead you use, adding more honey may make it too sweet for some palettes and overpower the delicate balance of spices. If you're not a fan of sweet drinks, the mead and aromatic spices in this drink are sufficient to create a comforting, honey-infused beverage without needing an extra dose of honey.

Using just the listed ingredients of mead, brandy, orange juice and spices will allow the flavors of this cocktail to shine without being obscured by honey. Omitting the extra honey also makes the cocktail easier to enjoy for those watching their sugar intake or following a vegan or paleo diet.

Can this mead cocktail be served cold?

While this mulled mead cocktail is traditionally served warm, allowing the spices to fully infuse, it can also be chilled as a cold drink option. We recommend cooking the mead as instructed and then letting it chill fully in the fridge overnight. Serve the mead over ice for a refreshing, sweet honey wine cocktail.

If, however, mulling the mead is not an option and you'd like to serve it completely without heating, the recipe would require some adjustments as the spices will not extract as strongly into the cold mead. To avoid heating this cocktail, steep the cinnamon, ginger, and other spices in the mead overnight in the refrigerator for more robust flavor extraction. When cold, the warming spice flavors will not be as prominent, so double the spice quantities in the recipe so they come through in the chilled beverage. When served over ice, garnish the drink with cinnamon sticks or candied ginger, taking on more of a chilled cider cocktail character.

Hot Mulled Mead Cocktail Recipe
4.9 from 20 ratings
Warm up this winter with this hot mulled mead cocktail, which is full of aromatic spices and subtly sweet flavors.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Brown drink with orange slice and cardamom tied with jute string
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 2 cups mead
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • ½ teaspoon whole allspice
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods, divided
  • 2-inch piece ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • ½ orange
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 dried orange slices
  1. Pour the mead and brandy to a large pot.
  2. Add the allspice, cloves, and 4 cardamom pods.
  3. Add the ginger and cinnamon stick.
  4. Grate fresh nutmeg into the pot.
  5. Squeeze in the orange juice.
  6. Drizzle in the honey.
  7. Bring ingredients to a simmer on the stove for 10 minutes then remove from heat.
  8. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and pour into glasses.
  9. Garnish each glass with a dried orange slice and the remaining cardamom pods, then serve.
Rate this recipe