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Best Simple Mulled Wine Recipes

Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, glühwein, vino caliente, bisschopswijn, and much more, is a deliciously spiced and heated wine, often enjoyed during Christmastime all over the world. In fact, the word mull simply means to warm with spices or fruits, and variations in each language tend to follow the same naming structure. Mulled wine has a similar flavor no matter where you are drinking it, but each country tends to have their own style when preparing it. Here, we give you eight simple mulled wine recipes, each from a different country. But first, the history of mulled wine.

The Origins

Heated wine first appeared in ancient Greek and ancient Rome. Instead of wasting the wine leftover from the harvest, both the Greeks and Romans were known to heat their remaining wine to preserve it. Not only did the heat preserve the wine, it also helped warm them in colder months. The addition of spices came a bit later, with two main purposes. One, to add flavor to the heated wine, which often did not taste good. Two, for health benefits. The Greeks and Romans believed that adding spices to their heated wine prevented sickness and were generally beneficial for their health.

As Greek and Roman culture spread across modern-day Europe, so did mulled wine. Different countries across Europe picked up the mulled wine tradition and added their own twist. Along with spices, Europeans began adding flowers to the wine as a natural sweetener to improve the flavor. In some mulled wine recipes, such as in Sweden’s glögg, there is an addition of some liquor, like vodka or bourbon.

Why Do We Drink Mulled Wine During Christmas?

In 1843, Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol, wherein he mentioned a popular mulled wine being drunk during Christmastime. Simultaneously, in the late 1800s, glögg in Sweden began to be associated with Christmas. The reasoning behind that is uncertain. Thanks to Dickens and glögg, mulled wine is now a popular Christmas tradition. You can find it at Christmas markets, like the famous Christkindlmarkt in Germany, or at restaurants during the winter season. If you don’t fancy buying a glass, look no further, because we’ve got eight easy recipes for you to follow from all around the world.

Recipes & Preparation

We’ve put together eight simple mulled wine recipes for you. Each country has a different style and a different name!

  • Spain: Vino Caliente
  • France: Vin Chaud
  • Germany: Glühwein
  • Sweden: Glögg
  • Brazil: Vinho Quente
  • Italy: Vin Brulé
  • The United Kingdom: Mulled Wine
  • Dutch: Bisschopswijn

The preparation for all of them is identical, unless noted with the recipe. Pour the wine into a pot and add the spices and fruits. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, drain the spices and fruit, serve warm. It is optional to add fruit or spice garnish when serving. Make sure that you do not leave the mixture at a boil, or you risk removing all of the alcohol content…and who would want that? For best results, we recommend that you simmer the wine for longer than 15 minutes. Try leaving it in for one to two hours, that way, the spices and flavors will properly mix.

There are a few other ways to prepare mulled wine. If you have a cheesecloth available, you can put the spices and fruit in the cheesecloth and place that in the pot of wine. That way, you will not have to strain it at the end. You can also prepare your mulled wine in a slow cooker or instant pot. You’ll prep the ingredients the same way as you would for a stovetop preparation, then heat the wine on low for one to two hours. If you choose this method of preparation, be sure not to put any fruit peels in the slow cooker. Now you know how to prepare it, onto the ingredients! And remember, you don’t need to buy expensive wine for these recipes. Mulled wine is delicious, no matter how cheap the wine is!

Spain: Vino Caliente

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 80 grams of brown sugar
  • 4 pods of cardamom
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange

France: Vin Chaud

  • 1 liter of red wine
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 100 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 pinch of grated nutmeg

Germany: Glühwein

  • 1 liter of red wine, dry
  • 50 ml of rum
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 oranges, squeezed
  • 7 carnations
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 50 grams sugar, more to taste

Sweden: Glogg

  • 1 bottle of red wine (red blends tend to work best)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons almonds (blanched and slivered)
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (fresh root)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 8 cloves
  • Optional: 1 1/2 cup of bourbon (or vodka)
  • Garnish: orange slice

Add almonds and raisins after wine is prepared, while serving.

Brazil: Vinho Quente

  • 1 liter of red wine, dry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks to taste
  • 1 carnation
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1/2 apple (green or red), peeled and sliced

Italy: Vin Brule

  • 1 liter of full-bodied red wine
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1 untreated lemon peel
  • 1 untreated orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1 star anise
  • A pinch of nutmeg

UK: Mulled Wine

  • 1 liter of red wine, dry
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 dessertspoon whole cloves
  • 1 dessertspoon whole allspice
  • 1 large piece orange peel
  • 1 large piece lemon peel
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Dutch: Bisschopswijn

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 oranges
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 75 grams cane sugar
  • 1 pinch of ground coriander

Grab a bottle of red wine, some spices and fruits, and get to mulling!