The first time that I tried mulled wine, I was at a German Christmas market in Chicago. I didn't know what it was, but I knew that I was very cold and would probably have done anything for a hot beverage. Within the first sip of the steaming, spiced red wine drink, I was enamored. Mulled wine is the delicious combination of red wine, orange slices, and warm wintery spices; perfect for cozying up by the fire or enjoying at a holiday party.

Mulled wine, also called glogg or gluhwein, is popular throughout Europe during the holiday season. A similar concept to sangria, mulled wine is heated on the stove and flavored with oranges and warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. Some mulled wine recipes also call for brandy for an extra kick. It's best to use a dry, full bodied red wine like cabernet sauvignon, merlot or zinfandel to ensure that the final product isn't too sweet after the addition of honey.

Even if you don't have enough people to drink a whole batch, there are worse problems than having too much mulled wine! If you find yourself in this situation, you can keep your mulled wine in the fridge for about three days and reheat it for seconds.

How to Make Mulled Wine

First, zest the orange, using a peeler to make the orange peel into long strips. Cut the orange in half and squeeze its juice into a large pot.

Add in two bottles of wine, apple cider, honey, ginger, and spices to the stock pot.

Cover pot with a heavy lid, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Don't let it boil! (That would cause the alcohol to evaporate, and no one wants that).

Simmer gently on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, tasting for flavor. Add more honey if you prefer sweeter mulled wine, more spices for a more spice-centered version. When ready, strain out spices before serving and ladle your hot spiced drink into mugs.

Garnish with fresh cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange zest or orange slices.

Guten Appetit!

Watch: The Health Benefits of Wine

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Mulled Wine 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 orange (Grab extra for garnish)
  • 2 bottles dry red wine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon stick (Grab extra for garnish)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 whole star anise (Grab extra for garnish)
  • 2 whole green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole allspice berries

Instructions

Zest the orange, keeping the zest in long strips. Cut in half and juice into a large stock pot.

Add the two bottles of wine, cider, honey, ginger, and spices to the stock pot.

Cover with a heavy lid, and bring to a simmer—try to avoid boiling it! Cook gently for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain out spices before serving. Garnish with fresh cinnamon sticks, star anise, or orange slices.

Notes

Some choose to use a crockpot or slow cooker, an easy way to cook your mulled wine while making dinner as well. Add brandy for an extra kick!