Classic Cozy Mulled Wine Recipe

While in some cases "mull" means to ponder a weighty question or decision, in the case of mulled wine, it instead means to warm up a beverage and add some sugar and seasonings. Any questions you might have about mulled wine won't require much deep thinking, either. Should I make it? Why, yes — it's quite simple to do. Will I like it? Again, yes, since it's quite tasty.

Developer Julianne De Witt makes her mulled wine in a classic style and calls the drink "festive, cozy, [and] delicious." She also points out that it's easy to make, taking no more than 10 minutes to prepare and an additional half hour to mull. As mulled wine can be prepared with so little effort, De Witt feels that it is "perfect for entertaining." Even if you're not planning to fête a houseful of wandering wassailers, you can make it for yourself and warm a mugful in the microwave whenever you'd like a cup of cozy cheer.

Collect the ingredients for the classic cozy mulled wine

This mulled wine starts with red wine (De Witt chooses to use Cabernet Sauvignon, herself) and adds sugar, water, and rum. For flavoring, you'll need oranges, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. De Witt does say, though, that "if you're not a fan of cloves, leave them out and add more cinnamon sticks or some cardamom pods."

Step 1: Cut up the oranges

Slice the oranges into 4 rounds each.

Step 2: Stick the cloves in the orange slices

Take 5 slices of orange and press 6 cloves into the pith of each slice.

Step 3: Chop up the remaining oranges

Cut the remaining orange rounds in half and reserve for garnish.

Step 4: Mix the water and sugar

Add water and sugar to a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir.

Step 5: Simmer

Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.

Step 6: Add the wine and flavorings

Add wine, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and clove-pressed oranges to wine.

Step 7: Mull the wine

Simmer gently for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 8: Remove the oranges and spices

Strain the spices and oranges out of the wine.

Step 9: Pour the rum

To serve, add ½ ounce of rum to 12 small, heat-proof mugs.

Step 10: Garnish the mugs

Add one orange slice and one cinnamon stick to each mug.

Step 11: Pour the wine into the mugs

Pour mulled wine over top and serve.

What booze should I choose to make this classic cozy mulled wine?

While De Witt is using Cabernet Sauvignon in her mulled wine, this isn't the only kind you can use. As she tells us, "I like to use a dry, dark, and full-bodied wine in this recipe" and explains, "These wines will stand up to the flavor of the rum and spices." If you're not a fan of cabernet, she also suggests merlot, while some sommeliers feel that a fruitier red like malbec, syrah, or zinfandel may works best for mulled wine and other experts recommend pinot noir, grenache, sangiovese, and Bordeaux. The most important thing is to pick a wine that you like. De Witt says, "It doesn't need to be an expensive bottle of wine, but one that tastes good on its own" and only you can determine what tastes good to you.

As for the rum in this mulled wine, De Witt does say that this ingredient is optional. "Traditionally, mulled wine normally has some brandy added. To change things up, I add amber rum." If you like brandy, go ahead and use it, while De Witt also suggests port, which is something Marcus Samuelsson uses in his glögg. She advises, though, that "if using port, you'll want to decrease the sugar." You could also skip the spirits to make for a lower-alcohol mulled wine. 

How warm should I keep this classic cozy mulled wine?

When you are mulling wine, you want it to be just hot enough so that the sugar melts and the spices infuse their flavors into the wine, but De Witt cautions: "Do not let the mixture boil" –- well, not unless you're trying to trick your guests into thinking they're getting a boozier beverage than is actually the case. As De Witt notes, "A simmer will meld the flavors without cooking off all the alcohol." If you do accidentally let the pot boil for a minute or two, though, there's no need to worry as it would take a full 30 minutes of cooking to reduce the alcohol content by as little as 10%.

If you need to keep the mulled wine warm over an extended period, one way to do this is by using a slow cooker and setting it on warm. If you do so, not only will it retain the right temperature, but, as De Witt points out, "Guests can help themselves."

Classic Cozy Mulled Wine Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Warm both your home and your body with the spiced, boozy heat and citrusy sweetness found in this quick, simple recipe for classic cozy mulled wine.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
12
cocktails
wine and cinnamon in mug
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 30 cloves
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 2 (750-milliliter) bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 + 12 cinnamon sticks, divided
  • 4 star anise
  • 6 ounces amber rum
Directions
  1. Slice the oranges into 4 rounds each.
  2. Take 5 slices of orange and press 6 cloves into the pith of each slice.
  3. Cut the remaining orange rounds in half and reserve for garnish.
  4. Add water and sugar to a large pot over medium-low heat. Stir.
  5. Bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar.
  6. Add wine, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and clove-pressed oranges to wine.
  7. Simmer gently for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Strain the spices and oranges out of the wine.
  9. To serve, add ½ ounce of rum to 12 small, heat-proof mugs.
  10. Add one orange slice and one cinnamon stick to each mug.
  11. Pour mulled wine over top and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 203
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 13.6 g
Sodium 2.5 mg
Protein 0.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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