The origins of mulled wine go back to the Romans, who brought wine from the South of Europe to the North as they were conquering it. During winter, they heated it up and added some spices.
Ever since, mulled wine has stayed and spread across Europe and today is one of the favourites at Christmas.
Mulled wine is usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of it. The general rule for mulled wine preparation is to make sure that the alcohol content is not higher than 12.5%, as the heating process and the addition of spices transform the flavour of wine. It is best to opt for simple light wines with fewer tannins like Merlot, Pinot Noir or Grenache. Bolder wines like Syrah will work well too.
There are many variations of the traditional mulled wine recipe where brandy, rum, cider or white wine are used.
To add a fruity hint of citrus to balance the flavour of your mulled wine, you can use fresh orange and lemon peels. The addition of fresh apples, berries or raisins is also a common addition. It all depends on your individual taste.
The spices used in its preparation are traditional Christmas spices like cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and allspice. Other dry spices such as vanilla, ginger, fennel, juniper berries, chilli pepper, coriander and bay leaves, are also a popular choice. Each of these spices will bring on its unique aroma, so feel free to add your favourites!
- 750ml red wine
- 100ml port
- 1 dash brandy
- 2 large oranges, chopped in thin slices
- 2 large apples, chopped in thin slices
- 2 pieces of cinnamon stick
- 3 pieces of star anise
- 5 pieces of cloves
- 3 pieces of berries
- 4tbs caster sugar or honey
- 10 min
- 30 min
1. Combine the wine and port with the sugar/honey over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add the oranges, apples to the warmed wine.
3. Simmer the spices and wine mixture for additional 10 minutes. Do not let it boil.
4. Add the brandy or preferred liquor and simmer for around 5 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 minutes.
6. To serve, heat without boiling, stir and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
For a great result, it is important not to add ground spices, as they will make the mulled wine grainy. Use whole spices instead.
Serve mulled wine in glass, porcelain or ceramic mugs with handles as you want to protect your hands.
To garnish, put a few orange slices in a mug along with a cinnamon stick.
Mulled wine can be enjoyed on its own but for those who love classic British style, mince pies are the ultimate Christmas combination.
You can also serve mulled wine with Swedish dishes like pickled fish and crackers, fondue, cheeses or appetizers like baked brie.
To keep mulled wine warm for a longer time put your mulled wine on a really low heat and pour it into glasses as your guests arrive.