Now that the cold season is well underway, there’s nothing better than a steaming mug of mulled wine to help brace the chill. Impress your guests with thisholiday season staple that is super simple to make.
What is mulled wine?
Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, (Glühwein in German, Bisschopswijn in Dutch, and Vin Chaud in French) is a hot alcoholic beverage that is served around the winter months. Here in Europe, you’ll typically find it sold at Christmas markets. It is made with red wine and heated with sugar and classic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. There are a number of variations and recipes that vendors make. In Austria for example, it’s common to drink this after skiing or après-ski after a long day on the slopes.
What are the common ingredients?
- Cinnamon: No spiced wine or winter drink is complete without cinnamon.
- Oranges: This really rounds out the taste of all the spices. For traditional Gluhwein the the juice of the orange is included.
- Cloves: This pungent spice really gives that extra punch and sharpness. Just be careful not to overdo because this can easily overpower your drink.
- Star anise: The peppery and licorce spice is not only pretty to look at but also adds a nice aroma.
There is nothing more aromatic than the scent of these spices melding together. Don’t be scared to add your own personalized touch of ingredients. This recipe contains fresh ginger and vanilla which really turns traditional mulled wine up a notch.
What’s the difference with Dutch Bisschopswijn?
Bisschopswijn is a variant of mulled wine and is traditionally drunk around the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. It literally translates to Bishop’s wine in English. The difference is that the Dutch add more citrus to their spiced wine and less sweetener. They use pomander balls which are oranges pierced with cloves and also add lemon to the mix.
What wine is best for mulled wine?
It’s recommended to use dry or semi-dry reds with relatively high alcohol content. Since we add sugar (or other sweeteners), using a dry wine is best to minimize the sweetness. Using white wine is also delicious. It is lighter and had more of a sour taste. Pinot Grigio would be a suitable white wine choice. Also, there is no need to use expensive wines for this recipe.
Can mulled wine be reheated?
Mulled wine is always great the next day because the aromas have more time to steep and develop. You can reheat it but ensure that it never reaches a boil. This way the alcohol doesn’t burn off so quickly and the flavors don’t turn bitter. You can always add fresh wine if needed.
What do you serve mulled wine with?
Mulled wine pairs well with gingerbread, speculaas, or gingerbread. My all-time favorite is serving it with one of these Dutch winter snacks. If you prefer savory bites then nuts, croquettes, or bread with a simple herb oil dipping sauce works well.
Can I make non alcoholic mulled wine?
If you prefer a non-alcoholic version follow the below recipe and replace the wine with grape juice. Since the grape juice is already so high in sugar I would omit the use of any sweeteners.
- 2 bottles red wine
- 4 oranges halved, save 1 to use as a pomander ball
- ½ cup sugar, honey or agave syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 7 cloves
- 1 dried star of anise, use extra for garnish
- 1 slice of ginger
- ½ vanilla pod split lengthwise down the middle with seeds scraped
- 3-4 shots dark rum or bourbon
- Wash and scrub the oranges well and cut 3 into three thin whole slices. For the remaining orange pierce the cloves into it to create a pomander ball.
- Place the wine, cinnamon sticks, oranges, pomander ball, vanilla seeds, ginger and star anise into a large saucepan and heat on a low level.
- Add shots of alcohol at the 1 hour 30 minute mark.
- After 2 hours and 30 minutes serve the hot mulled wine in heatproof glasses and garnish with an orange slice and optional cinnamon stick.
- Always use whole spices instead of ground.
- Set aside 2-3 pinches of orange or lemon zest to add as an extra kick.
- You can use a Dutch over to prepare the mulled wine which looks great when serving to guests.