On a cold winter’s evening, there’s no more welcoming smell than that of mulled wine wafting from the kitchen. The air heavy with spices, fruit and alcohol, transports you to those jolly Christmas scenes in your favourite books or films. The problem, however, often comes when you taste the stuff. It’s often much too sweet, bitter with overcooked spices and, worst of all, lacking in alcohol from being boiled. Some of the worst I’ve had were at Christmas markets that had clearly been stewing for hours.

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There are plenty of mulled wine recipes on the BBC Good Food site, but if you haven’t got time to make your own, you can always buy ready-made mulled wine. I was surprised by how palatable some of them were. With the best you could really taste the quality of the (usually Spanish) base wine while the sugar and spices were quite discrete. Serve them in little glass cups with handles, add a bit of orange peel and nobody will know that you didn’t make it yourself.

And finally, whether you’re buying it in or making it yourself, a glug of port, sloe gin or even rum before serving will lift the whole thing.

Read on to discover the ultimate guide to the best mulled wines to buy. For more like this, visit our reviews section to find round-ups of the best port, best wine for Christmas and best boozy gifts, plus the results of our best Christmas sandwich taste test.

10 best ready-made mulled wines at a glance

  • Best upmarket choice: Fraser’s Mulled Wine, £17.99
  • Best German mulled wine: Harvey Nichols Mulled Mine, £17.50
  • Best mulled wine cup: Ableforth’s Christmas Mulled Cup, £14.95
  • Best for a gift: M&S Red Mulled Wine, £5.50
  • Best all-rounder: Waitrose Mulled Wine, £5.49
  • Best mulled fruit wine: Lyme Bay Mulled Wine, £11.95
  • Best glühwein: Felix Solis Glühwein, £5.50
  • Best budget choice: Tesco Mulled Wine, £3
  • Best flavoured mulled wine: Aldi Salted Caramel Mince Pie Flavoured Mulled Wine, £3.99
  • Best non-alcoholic mulled wine: Eisberg Alcohol-Free Mulled Wine, £3

10 best ready-made mulled wines to buy 2023

Fraser’s Mulled Wine

Best upmarket choice
Rating: 5/5

Hands down the best mulled wine I’ve ever had. Freshly made in small batches with Spanish tempranillo wine blended with spices, bay leaves and citrus, you’ll struggle to make something this good at home. Whatever you do, warm it gently, don’t boil!

Available from:
Fraser’s (£17.99)

Harvey Nichols Mulled Wine

Best German mulled wine
Rating: 5/5

This vies with Frasers’ as the fanciest mulled wine on the market, but it’s quite different. Using high-quality red wines from the Rhine region in Germany, you can really taste how good the wine is. This is light and fragrant with very delicate spicing. One to give to people who think they don’t like mulled wine.

Ableforth’s Christmas Mulled Cup

Ableforth Christmas mulled cup bottle

Best mulled wine cup
Rating: 5/5

This is a really clever drink. It’s a blend of cognac, port and various fruits and spices. Yes, it’s expensive, but you only need to add 50ml (meaning there are four servings in here) to each bottle of table wine, some sugar and you have a delicious hot beverage. Perfect every time.

More like this

Available from:
Master of Malt (£14.95)

M&S Red Mulled Wine

Best for a gift
Rating: 4/5

I love the art nouveau label on this one. You’d be delighted to find it in your stocking this Christmas. Happily, the contents are up to snuff too. This one comes from Germany and it tastes like there’s some decent quality wine in here, enhanced by subtle spicing. Bit of class.

Available from:
Ocado (£5.50)

Waitrose Mulled Wine

Waitrose Mulled wine in a bottle with a red label

Best all-rounder
Rating: 4/5

Another one made with Spanish wine and you can really taste it: lots of fruit, just a little tannin, plus a good healthy 11% ABV. The wine leads here, with the spices and sweetness kept in the background. Mulled wine for grown-ups.

Available from:
Waitrose (£5.49)

Lyme Bay Mulled Wine

Lyme Bay mulled wine in a bottle

Best mulled fruit wine
Rating: 4/5

This offering is a bit different. Instead of grapes, it’s made from a blend of damson and elderberry wine – all extremely English. It smells highly-spiced, with the damsons coming through strongly, but it’s quite gentle on the palate and only 5.5% ABV, so a good lower-alcohol option.

Available from:
John Lewis (£12)
Amazon (£11.95)

Felix Solis Glühwein

Gluhwein mulled wine in a bottle

Best gluhwein
Rating: 3/5

I’ve had some of the worst mulled wine ever in Vienna, sickeningly sweet and hardly any booze. This is much nicer, made from a decent-quality Spanish red with plenty of spice, not too sweet and a handy 12% ABV. A proper winter warmer.

Available from:
Tesco (£5.50)

Tesco Mulled Wine

Best budget choice
Rating:
3/5

Cinnamon and clove forward, very spicy indeed and not too sweet, this isn’t bad at all, especially for the money. Another one that’s low in alcohol at 5.5% ABV, it really benefits from a good slug of port being added to each cup.

Available from:
Tesco (£3)

Aldi Salted Caramel Mince Pie Flavoured Mulled Wine

Best flavoured mulled wine
Rating: 3/5

Warning! This is not going to appeal to everyone, but some people are going to absolutely love it. How to describe the flavour? It’s like a Cadbury’s Caramel bar crumbled in some very strong Ribena and served hot. As I said, not for everyone, but on a cold night, I would find this hard to resist.

Available from:
Aldi (£3.99)

Eisberg Alcohol-Free Mulled Wine

Best non-alcoholic mulled wine
Rating: 3/5

I was surprised by how tasty this is. It’s sweet but not too sweet with lots of spices and a warming rich flavour. If you were given this on the street on a cold December’s night with a piece of orange floating in it, I’m not sure you’d even guess there wasn’t any alcohol in it.

Available from:
Tesco (£3)

Great mulled wine recipes

Try one of BBC Good Food’s mulled wine recipes, from classic versions to alternative options for non-traditionalists.

Classic mulled wine
Slow cooker mulled wine
Non-alcoholic mulled wine
Mulled white wine
Pomegranate & vermouth mulled wine
Mulled wine cocktail
Mulled rosé wine
Appleberry mulled wine

Best Malbec
Best ports
Best Irish cream liqueurs
Best coffee liqueurs

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This review was last updated in December 2022. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.

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