No holiday season is complete without a cozy glass of Mulled Wine! With seasonal spices, a bold red wine, and bright orange, this cocktail is comforting and warms the soul, perfect for a crowd or for a night at home.

Two glass mugs on silver tray next to orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Let’s cheers to the weekend and to cozying up with a mug full of warm, spiced Mulled Wine!

I’m so excited about this recipe for so many reasons:

  1. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the holidays need a warm cocktail in hand. Especially when you live in the tundra and like to watch the snow from inside. By a fire. With candles. Under a blanket.
  2. It reminds me of being on top of a mountain in New Zealand.
  3. All the seasonal mulled spices (and you know I love warm spiced cocktails).
Hands holding glass mug with mulled red wine garnished with star anise and orange.

Mulled Wine is actually a fairly recent addition to my life.

Until I traveled to New Zealand, I actually hadn’t had mulled wine before. My friend and I took a cable car to the top of the mountain in Queenstown, overlooking Lake Wakatipu, and the impressive Southern Alps.

The only beverage option seemed obvious: try a warmed Mulled Wine. I was so pleasantly surprised once I tried it, especially because I’m 100% all about drinking wine as is. And I’ve gotta say, the view had nothing to do with my newfound love of Mulled Wine.

I was normally all about wine without frills.

Just give me a glass of dry red, and I was a happy girl!

But now, now give me a glass of warm, mulled wine that gives me ALL the cozy vibes, and I’m a happy girl watching snow fall outside.

A surprised happy girl, but happy nonetheless!

You will be too, happily surprised and cozy with a glass of it in your hands.

Overhead look into glass mug with mulled red wine, cinnamon, and orange slices on tray.

What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled Wine is also known as ‘spiced wine’; it’s a warm wine cocktail that is full of what’s known as mulled spices. It’s traditionally served at European Christmas markets and around the holiday season.

Lucky for us, we can make it home quite easily, either for a crowd or ourselves. It stores and reheats beautifully if you do decide to make it for one – or two.

There are, as I’m sure you can gather, many variations for this drink. But that’s what I find beautiful about recipes: the ability to adjust to your own preferences.

What Are Mulling Spices?

Ah, mulling spices. A variety of spices that are synonymous with all the fall and winter spice vibes.

They’re the spices traditionally used to spice drinks in the fall and winter. Drinks like hot apple cider and, you guessed it, mulled wine.

You can buy mulling spices prepackaged, but for this recipe we’re combining our own.

Cinnamon sticks and star anise on plate.

Simple Ingredients

The beauty of this recipe is how simple and easy it is to make.

And, worth mentioning again, how you can adjust to your tastes. Here’s what we’re using in our spiced wine:

  • Red Wine – a dry red wine works best
  • Apple Cider – works to bring a hint of sweetness to the mulled wine and balance out the intense flavors
  • Oranges and/or orange zest – to help balance out the spices and compliment all the flavors
  • Whole Spices: cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves are used in this recipe. They all work together so beautifully, and while I normally don’t enjoy star anise for its licorise-like flavors, it’s key here! I don’t recommend using ground spices, the flavors won’t infuse as they do with whole spices.
  • Maple Syrup – for another touch of sweetness without using added sugar
Tray with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, oranges, wine, and cider.

I suggest adding apple cider in my version of mulled wine for a couple of reasons. Adding apple cider helps to spread out the serving size a bit more, which is perfect for a crowd.

You can absolutely leave out the apple cider if you choose, which will create a more heavy-on-the-wine Mulled Wine.

Mulled spices with oranges and apple cider in sauce pan.

The Best Kind of Wine To Use

Easy answer: your favorite red wine to drink!

You definitely don’t want to go in with the mindset that a bottle of super cheap wine is best because you’re “hiding the flavor” with spices, because that is absolutely not the case.

Yes, there are additional flavors added to the wine in this recipe, and tiny subtleties in the flavor of may be covered, but the wine absolutely shines through. So you want to be sure it’s one you enjoy.

Red wine added to saucepan.

It’s no secret I love a good dry red, which is what I tend to lean towards for this recipe, too. I’d recommend a bold red wine such as a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you’d like to go lighter, lean towards a Pinot Noir that’s still on the drier side.

Stovetop or Slowcooker

Ah, the beauty of being able to make this warm cocktail either on the stovetop or in your Crockpot.

It’s really the same either way: you’ll be slowly warming up the wine and spices so the flavors meld together but don’t loose their vibrance.

Warm on low for 15-20ish minutes using either method, keeping the wine warm if serving, like at a party.

Glass mug with mulled red wine, cinnamon, and orange slices on tray.

The Best Way to Serve Mulled Wine

Serve Mulled Wine in a cozy mug or glass that will hold in the heat of the wine.

As far as what to serve it with, it pairs beautifully with cheesy appetizers or sweet desserts.

Appetizer Pairing Suggestions:

Dessert Pairing Suggestions:

Hands holding mug on a tray with another glass mug.

How to Store and Reheat Mulled Wine

If you have leftover Mulled Wine (gasp!) no need to worry because you can store and easily reheat it, although you’ll want to keep in mind how the flavors may develop and lose a bit of their luster.

Let the wine cool completely and transfer to an airtight container, like a mason jar. Store in the fridge for 3-5 days.

When ready to reheat, again slowly reheat on low until warmed through. Do note that the flavors may mellow out over time.

More Holiday Cocktails to Love

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

glass mug with mulled red wine, cinnamon, and orange slices on tray by fork in the kitchen
5 (7 ratings)

Get the Recipe Simple Mulled Wine

The easiest holiday cocktail you’ll make! It’s ready in 20 minutes and all the work is hands-off. Warm mugs of this spice-filled drink are the perfect way to jazz up a holiday party and serve to a crowd or cozy up at home with a movie and a roaring fire.


  • 1 bottle of bold red wine
  • 1 orange, zested and sliced (plus more for garnish)
  • 6-8 whole cloves
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup apple cider


  • In a large saucepan or slow-cooker, combine all ingredients and bring to a low simmer over low-medium heat (use the low setting for a slow cooker). Simmer the mulled wine mixture for 15-20 minutes, making sure the wine doesn’t come to a complete boil, as the alcohol will boil down if it does.
  • Remove from heat and ladle into mugs or strain out the whole spices and oranges. Serve in mugs and garnish with additional orange slices or cinnamon sticks as desired.


  • Keep remaining wine warm on the stove; it will only become more intensely flavored as the spices “mull” together.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Reheat on the stove over low heat as needed.
  • Want it spiked? A common addition to Mulled Wine is Bourbon, add 1/4 if desired.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

This post was originally published in December 2018; the text and process shots were updated for clarity in October 2020.