How to Make Mulled Wine

Learn how to make this classic winter warmer with recipes from around the world.

Mulled wine has been warming up imbibers since ancient Roman times. It's the perfect drink to bring some cheer on a cold winter's day. If you're throwing a holiday party at home, it's a inviting way to welcome your guests. The aroma is fantastic, and a glass of hot red wine will put everyone in good spirits — not to mention that it's both easy to make and easy to serve!

What Is Mulled Wine?

Traditional mulled wine is a hot drink made with red wine, mulling spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, cloves), sugar, and sometimes a fruit component like apple or citrus. Different countries and cultures have their own unique recipes for mulled wine. In the U.K., it's called Mulled Wine, in Germany, it's Glühwein, in France it's Vin Chaud, and in Nordic countries, they call it Glögg or Gløgg. While there may be different variations for the alcohol and sugar content and twists in the melange of spices used, the general recipe for mulled wine is the same the world over — red wine, sugar, and spices!

Mulled wine in white rustic mugs with spices and citrus
chamillewhite/getty images

How to Make Mulled Wine

This is a great basic recipe for mulled wine that uses one bottle of inexpensive red wine. You can adjust sweetness to taste by adding more or less sugar, or try your preferred sweetener, such as honey or agave.

What You'll Need

  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
  • 1 large piece orange peel
  • 1 large piece lemon peel
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Step 1: Prepare the spices

You can opt to throw all of your whole spices into a pot along with the wine, but you can also use a tea infuser or cloth spice bag to keep them together. Doing so means you can easily serve the wine without guests fishing whole cloves out of their cup!

Step 2: Choose your vessel

You can use any large saucepan or pot on the stove for your mulled wine, preferably with a lid. You can also opt to use your slow cooker or Instant Pot, which will keep the mulled wine warm without worrying about boiling.

Step 3: Combine and heat

Place all of your mulled wine ingredients in your chosen cooking vessel. If you're making mulled wine on the stove, place the lid on the pot and put over medium to medium-low heat. If using a slow cooker, set it to High initially. Heat the mulled wine gently and avoid letting it come to a simmer or boil, which can cause the mulled wine to turn bitter. Let the wine heat for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Sweeten to taste

How sweet you want your mulled wine is really up to you. After the mulled wine is hot, we suggest starting by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, stirring to dissolve in the hot wine, then adding more to taste.

Step 5: Keep warm and serve

Once you have let the wine infuse with the spices for at least 20 minutes over medium to low heat, the mulled wine is ready to serve! Ladle into mugs and serve, garnished with an orange slice or cinnamon stick.

If you want to let guests sip holiday cheer throughout the night, it's fine to keep the mulled wine warm for several hours. You can reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove, but keep in mind this can lead to simmering, which you don't want. Instead you can transfer the mulled wine to a thermos or insulated pot. The most ideal self-serve mulled wine station, however, is a slow cooker set to Low heat.

Types of Mulled Wine

Here's a look at different varieties of mulled wines from all over the world, and what's special about each of them.

Old-Fashioned Swedish Glogg
Old-Fashioned Swedish Glogg | Photo by elise. elise

Scandinavia: Glogg

This is an old Swedish family recipe passed down since 1921. What makes this recipe stand out is the alcohol content — those Nordic countries like it strong. It's got port wine, bourbon, and rum and definitely packs a punch. It's spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel. It's also got raisins and almonds which are traditional in the Swedish version. Erinammo says, "Growing up with a Swedish family this was a staple of Christmas, the smell is so sweet and wonderful. This is exactly how my father makes it. Be prepared though for the kick and don't expect to drink too much!"

Get the recipe: Old-Fashioned Swedish Glogg

a mug of Gluehwein, German mulled wine

Germany: Glühwein

This German mulled wine is incredibly popular and so easy to make. You begin by making a sugar syrup with cinnamon sticks, then add some clove studded oranges with the wine, and heat. Community member shellymayo raves, "This is an amazing recipe. It tastes just like what I drank while living in Germany. I made it for a bunch of friends for Thanksgiving and everyone really loved it."

Get the recipe: Gluehwein

vin chaud, French mulled wine, in a glass

France: Mulled Wine (Vin Chaud)

If you've ever spent Christmas in France or hit the slopes in the French Alps, you'll know all about Vin Chaud. This festive red wine is sweetened with honey and apple juice, and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom. Allrecipes Allstar Liz raves, "I used Cabernet Sauvignon for this and it came out great. I strained all the wine to serve and then put some cloves cardamom and anise seed in individual tea strainers for each person to add as much or as little as they like."

Get the recipe: Mulled Wine (Vin Chaud)

Holland: Bisschopswijn

"Bisschopswijn, meaning 'bishop's wine,' is the Dutch version of the German Gluehwein, a hot drink for snowy holidays that makes you glow inside. Each household has its own variety; this is the one my Dutch neighbors used to make when I was a kid in Amsterdam for Christmas and New Year's Eve," says recipe contributor ELSE.

Get the recipe: Bisschopswijn

More Inspiration

Don't forget to check out our entire collection of Mulled Wine Recipes for lots more merriment! Also see:

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