How to make mulled wine.

Friday night was the first chilly evening of the season in Austin! So, I ran out and got the ingredients to make mulled wine — a seasonal treat. 

If you’ve never made your own mulled wine, you’ve probably had some at a winery, a fall festival, or maybe at someone’s home for the holidays. 

Around this time of year — and throughout the holidays — you’ll probably be able to find the ingredients in your regular grocery store. Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to make!

What is Mulled Wine? 

I did a little digging to see where this great idea came from. It was created by Hippocrates — the Greek father of medicine — as a tonic with honey and spices, served warm. 

By the second century, the Romans were drinking warm wine to… keep their health in check. SURE 🙂

Usually, mulled wine is made from red wine and traditional mulling spices are added in, and the drink is served warm. In Europe, you can usually get it at winter festivals or markets. So festive! 

Mulled wine ingredients
The ingredients I got for mulled wine 🙂

Mulled Wine Recipe 

I came across this recipe in the October issue of Real Simple, and it is from Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, “Modern Comfort Food.” The cool thing about mulled wine is… you can kind of make it your own. But here’s what the recipe calls for:

  • 1 bottle of red wine (an inexpensive cab or a full-bodied merlot)
  • 3-4 c apple cider 
  • Spices: cloves, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and star anise
  • Citrus: orange, lemon, cranberries
  • 1/4c brandy or Grand Marnier 

Okay, so I bought an inexpensive cab (I got the Trader Joe’s “Coastal” for $6) and I bought their spiced apple cider (they have plain, too). I got whatever spices I was able to find, which was: cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves; I already had black peppercorns at home. 

I did see these mulling spices that come in tea bags so you can just plop it in the mis. 

I bought an orange as my citrus — you can just use the zest or the peel — but I’m planning on slicing it up and putting the whole thing in the mix. i opted out of the brandy or Grand Marnier. 

I used my crock pot to heat everything.


Pour the wine and the apple cider into a dutch oven (I used my slow-cooker). 

Next, toast your spices in a dry saucepan over medium-low heat until they are warm and toasty. 

If you have cheesecloth or reusable tea bags or a strainer, you can put your spices in there and toss it into the pot with the wine and cider. I just tossed everything in bare 🙂 

This is when you can add in your citrus and/or the brandy or Grand Marnier. 

Now, just warm up the wine low and slow — you don’t want it to boil because the alcohol will burn off. NOOOOOO!

It should take about 15 minutes and then you can remove your spice bundle and ladle into mugs. Serve with any citrus garnish and/or spices (the star anise is so pretty)! 

Cute Mulled Wine Mugs

If you’re really into it, you can get some festive mugs for your mulled wine! I also saw several mulled wine spice kits on Etsy, which would make a great gift.

You could put together a “Mulled Wine Kit” with a mug, a bottle of red wine, and a pack of spices for the wine-lover on your list. It would also make a great gift for a host/hostess! 

Let me know if you try this recipe — or if you have one of your own! I think this will be perfect for the season and for the holidays. Cheers! 

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