We can’t deny it any longer, the days are getting shorter and the nights are colder, which means hot adult beverages are officially in season! Warm up (and make the house smell amazing) with a batch of mulled wine in just 30 minutes with our Easy Mulled Wine recipe.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly where mulled wine came from, but it’s likely the Greeks started the trend with the Romans following suit. These people realized that even the worst wine could still be enjoyed by adding citrus and spices. This mixture became even more popular in the Middle Ages for health reasons. It was believed that wine and spices prevented sickness in winter due to their warming nature. So in an effort to be resourceful with bad wine and to stay healthy, mulled wine became the go-to wintertime drink.
Mulled wine doesn’t just comfort the soul, it’s also easy on the wallet! Inexpensive wines work best here. The spices deepen the flavor and the honey adds a special sweetness that will make this concoction smooth and easy to drink. Brandy is an inexpensive add-in, and you might even have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry already …
Choose an inexpensive, full-bodied wine with jammy fruit and vanilla flavors. Avoid a dry wine, as this will make the end result bitter and astringent, not sweet and comforting like this popular fall and winter drink is meant to be. So put on a sweater and get to mulling!
EASY MULLED WINE RECIPE
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup brandy
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 navel orange cut into wheels (for garnish)
- Combine all ingredients, except for the orange, into a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove over medium-low. Let heat for 30 minutes while watching carefully to make sure the mixture doesn’t come to a boil.
- After 30 minutes, move the pot off the heat, or move to a lower setting to keep warm (if guests are serving themselves throughout the evening).
- Use a ladle to serve mulled wine into mugs. Garnish each glass with an orange wheel. Enjoy!
To reheat: This beverage tastes best day-of, but it can be enjoyed the next day as a leftover treat. Store in the fridge, and then heat on the stovetop over medium-low for 10 minutes before serving.
SLOW COOKER VERSION: Double the recipe if serving a crowd
Combine all ingredients except for the orange into a slow cooker on the low setting for one hour before serving. Keep the slow cooker on low for warm mulled wine all party long.
Follow the original Easy Mulled Wine recipe, and add 1 cup of fresh cranberries to the stovetop mixture and 5 star anise. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick, orange slice, and one star anise.
Replace the brandy in the original recipe with ¾ cup ruby port.
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.