Sipping on a glass of Mulled Wine is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit! Red wine is both sweetened and spiced with a medley of simple ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Don’t forget the orange peel and apple cider, of course, for that signature fruity flavor!

A glass mug is filled with mulled wine.

Mulled Wine

Christmastime is officially HERE! I can’t think of any better way to spread Christmas cheer than sipping on mulled wine with friends, hanging out around the fireplace and listening to Christmas music. Even if you live in a warmer climate, just crank the AC down to 70°F and snuggle with your favorite cozy blanket because this mulled wine is worth setting the mood for.

If you’ve never had mulled wine before, you’re in for a treat – especially if you enjoy red wine! Essentially, mulled wine is just red wine (can be merlot or cab) that’s all dressed up with spices, brown sugar, apple cider and fresh orange peel. It’s served warm and always makes me feel oh so festive, cozy and spirited. It’s fun to enjoy while the kids sip on their hot chocolate!

And don’t worry, mulled wine is so easy to make. The holidays are filled with enough stress and meal planning, so let the cocktails be the fun part! Everything gets tossed into one pot and simmered over low heat for about half an hour to really give the spices time to permeate the wine. The end result is a spiced, sweet, and tangy wine that’s deliciously smooth.

A pot is filled with mulled wine ingredients simmering together.

How to Make Mulled Wine

Your kitchen is going to smell like a spiced Christmas wonderland when this mulled wine simmers low and slow! Here’s a sneak peek at how to make this Christmas wine recipe:

  1. Combine the ingredients. Combine the wine, apple cider, orange peel, brown sugar and spiced in a nonreactive pan.
  2. Simmer. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. This should only take about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat. Turn the heat to high briefly, just to bring the wine to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy! Ladle the warm mulled wine into your favorite mugs. Garnish with sliced oranges, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Cheers!
A garnished glass of mulled wine is placed next to cranberries.

Ingredient Notes

Let’s take a look at that shopping list:

  • Red Wine – Use a good quality red wine. My favorites to use in this mulled wine recipe are merlot and cabernet.
  • Apple Cider – Fresh apple cider is preferred. I love using my homemade apple cider for the best flavor.
  • Orange – You just need the peel. It’s easiest to remove the peel with a vegetable peeler, if you have one.
  • Brown Sugar – All out? No worries! You can always make your own by combining 1 cup of white granulated sugar with 1 TBSP of molasses.
  • Spices – Warm things up with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom pods (cracked) and star anise.

What wines work best for mulled wine?

It’s best to use a red wine that’s full bodied and has a slight fruity flavor to compliment the apple cider and orange peel. I typically use cabernet.

Also, you don’t need a very pricey bottle of wine! A good quality middle of the road bottle works just fine here since we’re dressing it up so deliciously with other ingredients.

What else can I add?

Mulled wine is one of those recipes that varies from country to country – it’s literally a world famous recipe. Each region has a variation of it. Needless to say, there are plenty of things you can add to this recipe and it’ll still be authentic!

Consider adding a splash of brandy, a sprinkle of lemon zest, a drizzle of maple syrup (instead of brown sugar) or some orange liqueur. There are so many ways to customize mulled wine to best for your personal tastes and still call it authentic!

Two glasses of mulled wine are placed next to a bowl of cranberries.

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A glass mug is filled with mulled wine.

Get the Recipe: Mulled Wine Recipe

Easy Mulled Wine is steeped with fruit and warm spice for a festive cocktail that's warming and flavorful.
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  • 1 liter 4 1/2 cups good red wine, such as merlot or cabernet
  • 4 cups fresh apple cider
  • 1 large orange, peel removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 3 star anise, optional


  • 1 saucepan


  • In a nonreactive pan, combine the wine, apple cider, orange peel, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom and star anise.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Ladle the mulled wine into mugs and garnish with orange slices, star anise and cinnamon, if desired.
Calories: 120kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 203mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 8IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg