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Mulled Wine

5 from 1 vote

posted: 12/13/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Mulled Wine is going to be your favorite Christmas cocktail. This great drink is easy to make, and is perfect for serving a crowd.

a close up picture of mulled wine in a glass with cranberries and a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange

Nothing warms my heart quite like making delicious recipes for people to enjoy. (You know, hence the name of the blog, Simple Joy.) This joy gets amplified times a million when I am making recipes for those I love most around the holidays.

This deliciously simple hot mulled wine recipe. comes together with just a handful of ingredients and is easy to make. It is perfect to make for a gathering around the holidays!

How to Make Mulled Wine

This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious holiday cocktail. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Bring wine and mulled wine spices to a simmer. We are going to add two bottles of red wine, strips of orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, and whole cloves to a simmer with some brown sugar.
  2. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. You want to see bubbles, but you want them to be small, like the size of green peas or smaller. You don’t want to see giant bubbles, that will indicate your recipe is over too high of heat.
  3. Add in Brandy and Port. When the ten minutes are up, add in 2 cups each of Brandy and Port. You can see our recommendations for Port below. Let them just heat through for about a minute before turning off the heat.
  4. Garnish and serve. I think this looks the most beautiful when you toss in some fresh cranberries and orange slices for serving. But really it can be served as is too.
overhead of a stock pot full of the best mulled wine and garnished with fresh cranberries and orange slices

What Does Mulled Wine Taste Like

Mulled Wine has such a unique flavor that tastes just like fall. It is the perfect balance of sweet with the hint of spice in the background. If you like red wine, I think you will fall in love with this delicious cocktail recipe.

Mulled Wine Spices

We are using really simple spices for this recipe. Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves add an amazing background flavor to this great Christmas cocktail. The taste is so subtle that your guests will likely be unable to know what you added. But it adds an amazing layer.

If you love anise, you can add a pod or two. I suggest that you go easy with these as they can overpower a recipe if you add too many.

Best Wine for Mulled Wine

For mulled wine you want to pick a dry red wine. We are adding sugar and port to this, so you don’t want it to be overwhelmingly sweet. Some great examples of dry red wines are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah.

Since we are using two bottles for this recipe, you could always pick two different red wines for a nice blend.

Types of Port

Port is a sweet wine from Portugal, most often enjoyed after dinner. There are several different types of Port, but the most common are Tawny and Ruby. Tawny is a darker color, closer to brown. Ruby is more of deep red. Additionally, Tawny Port has a nutty flavor, while Ruby Port has more of a berry flavor.

In this recipe we are using Ruby Port for two reasons. The first is that it tends to be more affordable – and we are pouring in a whopping two cups to this recipe. Additionally the berry flavors pair perfectly with the other ingredients.

close up view of a ladle full of mulled wine with fresh cranberries and an anise star

Keeping Mulled Wine Warm

While this recipe is made on the stove top, I recommend transferring it to a slow cooker set to “warm” for serving. It will keep it’s nice warmth, without boiling off the alcohol.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

While the slow cooker is the perfect way to keep mulled wine warm, you can also make it right in the slow cooker. My Slow Cooker Mulled Wine is just as delicious as this stovetop version.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

My Slow Cooker Mulled Wine is the perfect holiday drink. Made right in your slow cooker with easy-to-find ingredients, all of your guests will love this cocktail.
Photo of mugs of Slow Cooker Mulled Wine with cinnamon sticks and oranges beside

Storing Mulled Wine

If you have leftovers after your party, they will be good for up to one week. Remove the cinnamon, cloves, cranberries, orange slices, and peels before storing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

When you are ready to drink it, you can reheat it over low heat on the stovetop. Additionally, this is great when you drink it at room temperature.


Why can’t the pot be aluminum?

If you make your mulled wine in an aluminum (or copper) pot, the wine will react with the metal and produce and off putting flavor.

Won’t the alcohol cook off?

Contrary to popular belief, you need to cook a recipe for three hours to cook off the alcohol. In this recipe we are are simmering (lower heat) the mulled wine for only 10 minutes. Then we are adding even more alcohol after that.

Can mulled wine be reheated?

Yes! You can warm yourself a glass of this delicious drink on the stovetop over very low heat. Cook until it has reached the desired temperature.

Can mulled wine be drank cold?

Yes! I actually really enjoy this recipe warm or cold.

overhead of a stock pot full of mulled wine recipe, garnished with fresh cranberries and oranges

Other Christmas Cocktails

If you make this easy mulled wine recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

a close up picture of mulled wine in a glass with cranberries and a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange
5 from 1 vote

Mulled Wine

Serves: 14 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Mulled Wine is going to be your favorite Christmas cocktail. This great drink is easy to make, and is perfect for serving a crowd.



  • In a saucepan (nonaluminum and large) bring the wine, sugar, spices, orange and lemon peel to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes. You should see very small bubbles, it should not be a roaring boil.
  • Stir in the brandy and the port, just long enough for them to heat through, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and enjoy immediately. If this is for a party, I recommend transfering it to a crockpot and keeping it on the warm setting.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: cocktails
Cuisine: Italian
a close up picture of mulled wine in a glass with cranberries and a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange

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Mulled Wine

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Marilyn says

    5 stars
    I lived in Germany for 7 years as I was posted there with the Canadian military. Every Christmas season Gluhwein (Mulled) was served EVERYWHERE!
    And believe it or not you want the cheapest red wine possible. For some reason a good bottle of red tastes terrible in the recipe!

    • Lisa Longley says

      That’s really interesting!

  2. Anthony says

    A big thank you lisa, your simply the best. Anthony

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you, Anthony!

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