You know Christmas is on its way when you have your mitts wrapped around a mug of mulled wine. But while the comforting warmth and slightly stained lips are two happy by-products of supping this glowing ruby tipple, there are pitfalls. Insufficient sugar, a grainy texture and too much spice can all dent festive cheer, so we’ve got some tips for creating the perfect mulled wine.
How do I make mulled wine?
Easy mulled wine recipe
- 750ml bottle of red wine
- 1 sliced clementine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 3 dried figs
- 4 cloves
- 3 black peppercorns
- 50ml brandy
- Pour the red wine into a large saucepan. Add the clementine, cinnamon stick, star anise, figs, cloves and peppercorns. Heat very gently until simmering, then turn off the heat.
- Fish out the whole spices and peppercorns with a spoon, then stir in the brandy. Ladle into mugs or heatproof glasses to serve. You could drop in a slice of clementine to each.
What spices should I use?
Use all of these spices sparingly, particularly star anise and cloves, as they become very strong in flavour when left to stew at length. A touch of citrus complements these warm spices a treat. Orange and lemon won’t let you down, but tangerine, clementine and mandarin will add an extra festive kick.
Alternative spirits to try
A delicate drizzle of spiced rum, such as Sailor Jerry, ginger wine and cherry or apricot brandy can also work, but be careful not to go overboard. Avoid anything that might curdle, strongly contrasting spirits or anything cloying – while it’s tempting to match the spices with something aniseedy, sambuca mulled wine would kill the party mood in an instant.
Use a sweetener
If you’re going freestyle, honey or a flavoured syrup can be added to taste as the mixture is taken off the heat, but make sure you give it a good stir.
More tips for DIY mulling
Dot cloves into the skin of oranges and lemons to kill two birds with one stone – it will infuse the mix and it looks pretty, too.
Twists on traditional mulled wine
While it’s usually enjoyed crisp and chilled, white wine can also be mulled. Team it with light flavours like elderflower cordial, rosemary, vanilla and thyme. And don’t forget any non-drinkers; mulled apple juice with mild spices and orange should fit the bill nicely. Our mulled rosé also makes a festive alternative – be sure to add a generous glug of crème de cassis.
Check out our guide to 5 mulled drinks you can make in minutes for your next festive gathering.
How to get ahead
Our recipe features instructions on how much of the syrup to add to wine, but if you’re adding to your own taste, it’s a good way of controlling sweetness and spice levels. It’ll keep for up to three months, too.
Want to prepare ahead of time? Try our slow cooker mulled wine recipe. The low heat ensures the wine doesn’t boil and the flavours stay fresh.
How to serve mulled wine
Like these suggestions? Check out other cocktail content…
Is mulled wine your favourite festive drink? Do you have a preferred method? Share your tips with us below…