Mulled wine is one of my favourite Christmas drinks (maybe even my most favourite). It’s hot, spiced, and irresistibly festive. Best of all, it serves a crowd with minimal effort. It has become my signature cocktail this holiday season. I am hosting four dinner parties this week and I’m making it for all of them.
That’s actually a great entertaining tip – picking a signature cocktail for a season. It makes hosting pre-dinner drinks and spontaneous get-togethers a breeze, and saves having a cupboard full of a dozen spirits that you needed only a few ounces of.
I love this particular mulled wine because it is not only really delicious, but also really forgiving.
When I say forgiving, I mean you have wiggle room on both timing and ingredients. You can mix everything in a pot before work, refrigerate, and just warm it in the evening. If you have leftovers (unlikely), you can strain the mulled wine and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days. It holds up beautifully.
The ingredients are flexible, too. I tend to have all the listed spices on hand, but it’ll taste good even with just one or two.
The base is red wine. I choose a middle-of-the-road option – not the cheapest bottle (which won’t taste great no matter how long you infuse it), but obviously not a super pricey one. Actually, I’ve been using decent boxed wines.
To the wine, you add citrus and spice. I reach for pure orange juice then I toss in a few cinnamon sticks, cloves, and whole star anise. It’s balanced out with some brown sugar. And if you’re feeling fancy, a quarter-cup of brandy or cognac is a delicious addition.
As I’m wrapping up this post, I’ve got a big pot mulling on the stove and it smells incredible. A German friend and her family are on their way over – mulled wine is called Glühwein in Germany and it translates to “glowing wine”. Isn’t that lovely for the holidays? Hope you’re all keeping merry and warm.
Spiced Citrus Mulled Wine Recipe
- 2-750 mL bottles red wine
- 1 cup pure orange juice
- ½ cup brown sugar or more to taste
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves
- 4 star anise
- zest of one lemon
- 1 orange or clementine sliced
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar as mixture warms. When the wine starts to steam and is very hot to touch (about 10-15 minutes), turn off the heat. Don't let it simmer or boil. Taste and add more sugar if desired (it will depend on the sweetness of the wine - you may like to add a few more tablespoons). Strain any leftovers and refrigerate, covered.
Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD