Mulled Wine: The Perfect Holiday Drink

What Is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is a warm red wine that’s often served when celebrating festive occasions. Mulling is the process of warming and sweetening with flavorful spices. Although mulled wine recipes vary, they typically have cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise. Other ingredients may include orange slices, honey, and brandy. While we’re not historians here at The Wine Cellar Group,

A Brief History of Mulled Wine

  • Roman Empire, 20 AD: Roman soldiers mixed red wine with various spices to protect themselves from frigid winter temperatures. The delicious spiced wine’s popularity quickly spread to other parts of Europe. 
  • France & Spain, 12th Century: The French and Spaniards embraced their “spiced wine,” which was a similar imitation of the Romans’ concoction. 
  • England, 13th Century: People believed that mulled wine improved health and warded off sickness. Even King Henry III drank this holiday favorite. 
  • Germany, 19th Century: Mulled wine became a staple at annual Christmas markets in Germany starting in the 1890s. The hot, spiced beverage kept market-goers warm as they walked around in the cold winter weather. 

The Difference is in the Spice

From the cinnamon sticks to the citrusy orange slices to the splash of brandy, mulled wine has more robust flavors than any other kind of wine. While other wines are served either room temperature or chilled, mulled wine is served hot—making it the perfect cold-weather drink for the holiday season. Mulled wine also is sweeter and fruiter than traditional wines. 

Why it’s the ideal holiday beverage: 

  • Warm: comforting in cold weather
  • Flavorful: cloves and cinnamon just scream “Holidays!” 
  • Simple: no added stress to an already stressful season
  • Inexpensive: won’t break the bank 

How to Make Mulled Wine

The process of mulling wine is simple and only requires a few ingredients.  Using a crockpot or stovetop, follow the recipe below to make a delicious mulled wine that will keep guests coming back for more:


  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • ½ cup brandy 
  • 1 orange
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 star anise
  • ¼ cup honey


  • Medium saucepan (crockpot)
  • Large spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife


  • Cut the orange into thin slices 
  • Combine wine, brandy, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and honey 




  • Turn to medium heat and bring ingredients to a simmer (not a boil)
  • Reduce heat to medium-low for 10 minutes


  • Set to low heat and cook for 1 hour
  • Reduce setting to warm
  • For more flavor, add lemon slices or cranberries
  • Serve in heat-resistant mugs and garnish with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, or star anise (optional) 

Best Wine for Mulled Wine

  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Zinfandel
  • Your favorite red

How To Enjoy Wine This Holiday Season

Fact: everything is better during the holidays. Something about colder weather, celebrations, and family makes even the smallest delights much more enjoyable. Spice up your next holiday party by grabbing a set of stemmed Irish coffee mugs and adding tasteful garnishes—like mint, cranberries, and rosemary—to specialty beverages. Throwing a festive holiday party can be cheap and easy. 

Find the Perfect Red in Our Cellar Collection

At The Wine Cellar Group, we specialize in acquiring and selling boutique-style wines from family vineyards all over the world. We have high-quality products and unbeatable prices. Celebrate this holiday season with a bottle of red wine from our Cellar Collection—perfect for mixing up your next batch of mulled wine. 

Suggested Cellar Collection Bottles:


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