Sweet, spiced wine has been popular ever since the Romans.[1] This delicious concoction of fruit and spices makes a perfect drink for the festive season. Served warm, it takes the chill out of any winter evening.

Serves: 8; Preparation Time: 15 minutes; Cooking Time: 20 to 60 minutes

  • 2 bottles (1.5 liters) red wine
  • cup (100g) sugar (superfine, granulated, or raw), or maple syrup, plus extra to taste
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 12 whole cloves
  • piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole nutmeg seeds, cracked into pieces with a hammer[2]
  • piece of ginger, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) brandy (optional)

Feel free to experiment with spices. Other common options include star anise, mace, allspice, cardamom, vanilla bean, and whole black peppercorns.

[Edit]Preparing Ingredients

  1. Toast your spices (optional). Toast your spices in a dry pan over medium heat until they brown lightly and release fragrance, or for one or two minutes.[3] Besides improving their aroma, dry roasting tends to make spices more mellow and complex. The exact flavor change depends on the spice.[4] Whether or not you toast the spices is a matter of taste, so feel free to experiment.

    • Do not toast wet ingredients such as citrus or raw ginger.

  2. Tie the solid ingredients in a square of cheesecloth (optional). This makes it easy to remove the spices when it's time to pour the wine. Alternatively, just add them to the pot loose and pour the wine through a strainer before serving.

    • You can also stick the cloves into the skin of a whole orange or other citrus fruit to make a traditional, decorative infuser.

  3. Put the spices in a nonreactive pan. Wine and other acidic ingredients can pick up potentially harmful amounts of metal from aluminum, copper, and cast iron, or corrode the protective coating on some cookware. It's best to use less reactive options such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, or nonstick materials, especially if you cook with wine often.[5][6]
  4. Add the citrus fruit. Slice one orange and one lemon directly into the pot, or add only the juice and zest, discarding the rest. The second option allows you to avoid bitter flavors from the white pith, so make sure to zest only the colorful outer skin.[7]

    • Dry fruit is another nice addition to mulled wine. If you happen to have dried apricots, cherries, sultanas, or prunes, toss in a small handful.[8]

  5. Pour in two bottles of wine. Mulling will cover up nuanced flavors, so there's no point using the good stuff. A cheap, fairly dry red is a good choice. Fruity flavors should be prominent, with no strong oak or tannic components that could turn the brew bitter.[9] Try Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, or Pinot Noir.

    • You can mull white wine, but it works better with lighter flavors, such as vanilla and elderflower cordial.[10]

  6. Add the sugar. Start with cup (100g) granulated or raw sugar. If you have a sweet tooth or your wine is particularly dry, you can always add more at the end after taste testing.

    • Replace the sugar with maple syrup for a richer flavor that complements the ginger, cinnamon, and other spicy flavors.

[Edit]Mulling the Wine

  1. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Heat the pan over low heat until it steams and reaches a low simmer. Heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved in the wine.

    • Cover half the pan to speed up this process.

  2. Reduce to a very low simmer. The wine still needs more time to infuse, but high heat may scorch it and produce unpleasant flavors. Keep it on low heat for the rest of the process.

    • Some cooks even take the pan off heat at this point and leave it, covered, to infuse while cooling slowly.[11] If you do this, warm the wine up again before serving.

  3. Let the wine infuse for another 10 to 45 minutes. Taste the wine after another 10 minutes to see whether the flavors have infused. If the wine tastes harsh or weakly flavored, continue simmering until it mellows out and takes on the flavors of spice and citrus.

    • Do not simmer for more than one hour total.[12]

  4. Stir in a splash of brandy (optional). An uncovered pot of wine will typically lose about 40% of its alcohol in half an hour of simmering.[13] If you want to restore that boozy punch, add 3 tablespoons (45mL) of chest-warming brandy to the pot.

    • Alcohol will boil away more quickly in a wide pot with more surface area.

  5. Serve warm. Serve in thick, heatproof glasses or small mugs. Decorate with extra cinnamon sticks, star anise, or orange slices studded with cloves.

    • Mulled wine is best served immediately, but can keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. Reheat before serving.


  • You can mull wine in a slow cooker instead. Heat on low for about an hour.[14]
  • If you don't have these spices already, it's cheaper to buy a packet of pre-mixed mulling spices than to buy them all separately. It doesn't necessarily provide the best flavor, though, and you won't be able to adjust the taste to your liking.
  • The Victorians invented many recipes for their beloved mulled drinks. Try the intense "smoking bishop:" mulled wine made from 1 part ruby port and 2 parts red wine, plus g****fruit, oranges, sugar, and cloves.[15]


  • Be sure to use glasses able to withstand hot liquid.
  • Do not let the mixture boil. This can affect your flavor and burn off the alcohol more quickly.[16]

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Large saucepan
  • Stirring utensil
  • Ladle
  • Knife, vegetable peeler, or microplane zester
  • Sturdy, heatproof mugs or glasses

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary