Turn Cheap Wine into Heavenly Mulled Wine

Christmas is coming and there’s no better way to handle the cold weather than with a nice hot drink. Since no one can deny a glass of wine, it only makes sense that someone thought to warm it for the holiday season. Mulled wine combines red wine with a handful of spices and fruit into a batch of pure joy. It’s been a staple of Christmas Time in Europe, known as glühwein in German-speaking countries, glӧgg, gløgg, or glӧgi in Nordic countries and seen in Christmas markets everywhere in between. All of the seasoning improves the quality of less than great wine, which means that mulled wine is affordable and very easy to make!

The Heavenly Mulled Wine Recipe


  • 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or other red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 - 3 Stars anise
  • 8 cloves
  • ¼ cup pure honey
  • 2 - 3 sticks cinnamon
  • For garnish: orange slices or cinnamon sticks


  1. Pour the wine into a pot or deep saucepan.
  2. Begin heating at medium high heat.
  3. Add orange slices, spices, and stir in honey. Bring wine to a simmer.
  4. Continue simmering for 15-30 minutes, making sure not to let the wine boil.
  5. Ladle into cups, add garnish, and serve.


Expensive wine is not needed to make a great mulled wine. We actually recommend that you use a cheap wine since you’ll be mixing in all sorts of ingredients. Our personal favorites include Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but any red wine with a full flavor will make a great foundation for your mulled wine.

The spices are the highlight of mulled wine and without them there is no “mulled” in “mulled wine”. The most important spices to include are cloves, stars anise and whole cinnamon sticks. Citrus fruit, primarily oranges or tangerines are also important because they make for a fuller flavor.Optional spices include nutmeg and cardamom which you can add depending on your taste. Finally, to sweeten the mix, you can add honey to cut down on any lingering bitterness.


History of Mulled Wine

Mulled wine has ties all the way back to the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Medieval Europe. Wines were mixed with various spices to avoid waste and because it was believed that the spices provided health benefits. Today, a clear benefit of adding spices is to improve the flavor of subpar wine.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that mulled wine became popular for holiday celebrations. Charles Dickens mentions a variation called “Smoking Bishop” in his A Christmas Carol. Bottled glӧgg was sold all over Europe during the time in marketplaces, etc. It was from this that our modern idea of mulled wine came to be.