This traditional hot mulled wine recipe is super easy to make, delicious and will warm you from the inside out!
Mulled wine, or Glühwein as my German family calls it, is an aromatic red wine, sweetened and heated with mulled spices and citrus. These spices can be any combination of cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla beans. It’s like winter sangria, but less sweet and much cosier. Traditionally it is enjoyed during a stroll through Christmas Markets, or to warm you after a cold day on the slopes, or other frigid winter activities.
Glühwein roughly translated, means “glow-wine”, as they used hot irons to heat it many years ago. I grew up drinking this warming wine while strolling the winter markets with my Omi and Opa, while also gnawing on pastries, gingerbread and lebkuchen. Don’t worry, my Grandparents weren’t just going around feeding kids alcohol; due to how its warmed at Christmas markets, it had very very low alcohol content, making it suitable for kiddos like me. My Opa would enjoy it “mit Schuss”- which means “with a shot”, were he’d ask the nice person working the Glühwein hut to add a shot of amaretto. Delish!
We don’t have the same type of Christmas markets here in Canada. I mean, they try, but they are NOT anything like what you see in Europe. They are often WAY too packed (my social-anxiety monster hates crowds) the booths are lack-lustre, and the mulled wine is exorbitantly overpriced. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you talk to) my social anxiety has given me to ability to enjoy the comforts of the world without ever having to leave my condo. I love whipping up a batch of this stuff on a cold Friday night to enjoy just the two of us, or with friends that stop by. It adds a beautiful Holiday aroma to the air- which always makes me nostalgic.
To make this warm-you-from-the-inside-out cocktail all you need to do is…
Slice some oranges and stick whole cloves into them. Then, add them to a pot (a crockpot is perfect for this as well) and add orange juice, coconut sugar, ginger slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla bean and a bay leaf. You want to bring this to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer this spice mixture for 30 mins.
After 30 mins add 1 cup of red wine and simmer for another 30 mins, until it becomes thick and syrupy. When the syrup is ready, reduce the heat to low and pour in remaining red wine (don’t forget to take a swig yourself) and add the brandy. Bring this to just a gentle simmer (DO NOT BOIL! I REPEAT DO NOT BOIL!) and heat for about 5 minutes. Again…DO NOT BOIL. Once the mulled wine is warmed, strain out the orange slices and spices, and ladle the wine into glasses or mugs and serve warm. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel if desired. You can even add a star anise, if you’re feeling fancy.
- 2 oranges, sliced
- 10 whole cloves
- 1½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup coconut sugar, or to taste
- 1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 vanilla bean, halved (use 1 tsp vanilla extract, if you don't have beans)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 bottles red wine
- 1 cup brandy or rum
- Amaretto, optional
- Stick whole cloves into the orange slices and place into a large stockpot.
- Add orange juice, sugar, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla and bay leaf, and bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer. Simmer for 30 mins, add 1 cup of wine and simmer for another 30 mins, until thick and syrupy.
- When the syrup is ready reduce heat to low and pour in remaining wine and add brandy. Bring just to a gentle simmer and heat for about 5 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.
- Strain out orange sliced and spices and ladle wine into glasses and serve warm. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel if desired.
-Try adding a shot of amaretto to kick it up a notch!
-To maintain the alcohol content of the wine, add the wine at the end and only until warmed, never boil!