Inverno Arancione: The Spiced Mulled Cocktail For White Wine Lovers

Mulled wine is a sippable winter staple. Whether you know it as glögg, glühwein, or vin brulé, any iteration will warm you up and get you in a festive mood. The white wine lover's dilemma, however, is that most recipes consist of a red wine base that's spiced and sweetened. But hope is not lost, as mulled wine can actually be made with any (well, almost any) type of wine, whites included. So, if you've been awaiting a warm white wine cocktail, let us acquaint you with the Inverno Arancione.

Translating to "orange winter" in Italian, the Inverno Aranicione is the brainchild of Alissa Diaz, Wine Director at Centrolina in Washington, D.C. It's a creative take on a classic mulled wine recipe that swaps red wine for a much fresher Pinot Grigio, producing a brighter mulled beverage. Lighter in hue and crisper in taste, the tipple still manages to boast a fair degree of body and spice like that of traditional versions. But, how?

Much like red, white wine delivers the same — albeit unique — degree of structure and fruitiness necessary as a base for mulled wine. The Inverno Arancione is so successful because it uses oranges and lemons to amplify the citrusy zest of the Pinot Grigio; all the while a medley of ginger, anise, and cinnamon imparts a subtle warmth that complements the wine's delicate profile. Designed with white wine lovers in mind, this cocktail is sure to appease even mulled wine purists.

How to craft your own mulled white wine cocktail

Firstly, you need to select the right bottle of white. Steer clear of anything sweet or aged in oak, and instead aim for dry and fruity options like Pinot Grigio, Verdejo, or Chenin Blanc. Next, consider which spices to incorporate. Generally, a blend of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, anise, and allspice are used. Coriander seeds, white peppercorns, or even herbs like thyme can also fare well with white wine. To offset this mild heat, you'll also need to add a sweetener in the form of sugar, honey, or maple syrup, along with some juicy citrus. For added complexity, you might want to pour in a splash of vanilla extract or even spike the punch with an elderflower liqueur

Based on how spiced and sweetened you'd like your makeshift Inverno Arancione to be, you can adjust quantities, however, the mulling process remains the same. Add all your ingredients to a sauce pot, simmering over low heat for about half an hour — wine shouldn't boil as this causes alcohol to evaporate and flavors to change. Likewise, while you can use ground spices for a quicker infusion, we recommend keeping spices whole for better texture and aesthetics. 

Although there's never a bad time to enjoy a mugful of mulled white wine, the tipple makes a great après ski drink or works equally well when served with a wintery snack like a slice of panettone. Enjoy!