Ahhhh, mulled wine. Or perhaps spiced wine, depending on where you’re from. We look forward to this season every single year.
Just for a short time, HurryTheFoodUp is becoming HurryTheDrinkUp and we say at least a part of Christmas can be dedicated to getting drunk. In style 😉
The Germans know this as well as anyone, and after playing around with a classic mulled wine (or ‘Glühwein’ recipe to be precise) we’ve come up with the ultimate Christmas and winter drink.
What is Mulled Wine?
Mulled wine is a combination of red wine, spices, fruits and sometimes other liquors. It’s served warm and traditionally enjoyed during the winter, especially around Christmas time.
You may also have heard mulled wine described as Glühwein, spiced wine or Gløgg – just to name a few. The beauty of mulled wine is that it’s often slightly different depending on where in the world you try it and whose recipe you’re tasting.
Whether you’re sipping it from a mug at a German market or enjoying it with friends at a Christmas party, you’re in for a treat!
What does it taste like?
Whilst mulled wine tastes strongly of red wine (due to this being the main ingredient), it is also a lot sweeter thanks to the added fruit and sugar.
It has a warming aroma and taste from the spices, and if you add the optional orange liquor in our recipe you get a delicious citrus flavour. It really is Christmas in a glass!
Mulled Wine Ingredients
Whilst the ingredients of spiced wine recipes vary by location and personal tastes, there are a few that tend to be a staple:
This forms the base of mulled wine, giving it a rich flavour and beautiful colour. You can use a fairly inexpensive red wine as you will be adding spices and fruit which enhance the flavour (nobody will ever know!)
Just make sure to check that the wine you choose is vegetarian or vegan if this is your preference.
A Christmas favourite and classic addition to most mulled wine recipes, oranges add sweetness and a citrus kick.
We’ve also added some lemon zest to our German mulled wine for some extra zing.
Which Mulled Wine Spices?
This is where mulled wine (Wikipedia) recipes really start to differ, but we’ve gone with the tried and trusted combination of cinnamon sticks for a woody sweetness and star anise which adds a slight liquorice favour.
Other popular mulled wine spices include cloves, nutmeg and black peppercorns.
It’s best to use whole spices rather than ground to avoid the wine having a slightly gritty texture.
This is an optional extra, but can really enhance the flavour (and why not, it is the festive season after all!). We’ve chosen an orange liqueur, but you can experiment with your favourite spirits – brandy and port are also popular options.
Ok, this recipe might not be the healthiest one we’ve ever created. It’s generally a bit of a hard sell to claim that alcohol is healthy. However, research has built up over the years and seems to show that moderate red wine consumption is beneficial for your heart health. Those Romans had it right!
Now we aren’t advocating that you start drinking red wine on the daily based on the above findings. But the occasional glass does seem to be good for us so this time around we’ll say just one thing… Enjoy! Prost!
Authentic German Mulled Wine (Glühwein) Recipe
- ½ cup orange liquor (eg. Cointreau, brandy or amaretto are also fine)
- Juice the oranges. Zest the oranges if you don't have lemons.
- Add the red wine, lemon (or orange) zest, sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise and orange juice to one pot and stir well.
- Bring to a simmer on a very low heat until the wine begins to foam a little.
- Put a lid on top and simmer the wine gently for another 10-15 minutes.
- Add the orange liquor ,put the lid back on and turn off the stove. Let it sit for another 3-5 mins
- Serve the wine through a colander or sieve and into heat resistant glasses.
How to serve spiced wine
It’s best to strain the mixture before serving for a smoother drink. Then simply pour into glass cups or mugs – just make sure that they are heat resistant. In fact, you can actually buy mulled wine glasses which feature a handle and wide rim which makes it easier to drink the wine when it’s garnished.
Talking of which, garnish with a cinnamon stick or orange segment and enjoy!
Keeping it warm and reheating
Ideally, mulled wine should be served warm. If you’re serving it to a large number of guests throughout the evening, you could consider transferring it into a slow cooker on a very low heat after straining.
If you don’t have that option, you can certainly reheat mulled wine that’s not been sitting out for too long. Pop it back into the pan and heat on low – making sure to never bring it to the boil.
If you’re looking for festive dishes to serve up with your mulled wine this Christmas, check out our page of holiday recipes. The Bad Ass Nut Roast and Vegetable Wellington are two of our personal favourites and sure to go down a treat over the winter season!