Mulled wine for sale

Survive Winter with Mulled Wine

Lifestyle December 27, 2012 – Updated on January 10th, 2013

An Ode To Mulled Wine

In Seattle, the winter chills your bones. Frigid rain soaks through socks and sneaks up the leg of every pair of pants. To deal with this misery, Seattleites have a passion for hot beverages.

Mulled Wine (pronounced “mold”) is spiced and served hot, often complemented by mixed-in juices or brandy. It’s guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. If where you live gets even colder, you’ll love the Mulled Wine tradition in your home.
Warm your bones. by shereen84

A Lil’ History on Mulling Wine

Many Northern European countries have a tradition of mulled wine. In fact, the history of mulling wine dates to before the 8th Century BC. Homer’s Odyssey writes about Circe, a lascivious goddess, who drugs Odysseus’ crew with a blend of spices and wine.

Not Classy, But Oh So Good

Mulled wine is not considered a high-class beverage. In England, during the Victorian era, spicing wine improved the flavor of poorly stored wines shipped from France. Europe’s fascination with Oriental spices introduced cloves, cinnamon and cardamon.

What Type of Wine to Use for Mulled Wine

Since mulling wine disguises a lot of the nuances of taste, don’t pick a delicate flavored wine such as pinot noir or gamay. Instead, go for bigger, bolder, full-bodied red wines such as Syrah and Malbec. Keep in mind a red blend will often be a cheaper than a single varietal wine. Some variations of mulled wine, use white wine, for these, an aromatic white wine such as Riesling, Muscat (moscato) and Chenin Blanc are great choices.

Why Mull?
Mulling is a great way to repurpose a nasty wine you regret buying into something delicious.

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The Hottest Mulled Wines Out There

There are varying spices and techniques for mulling wine. One of the most simple involves three main spices: orange, cinnamon and star anise. You can make a kid-friendly and non-alcoholic mulled wine with grape and apple juice.
sugarloaf on fire. by Georgp


Highly recommended.
The Germans are pyrotechnic enthusiasts which is the core inspiration behind this visually appealing mulled wine called Feuerzangenbowle. A sugarloaf or sugar cubes are soaked in rum and lit on fire over a vessel of hot German Glühwein. Glühwein includes cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and orange peel mixed in dry red wine. The rum-soaked carmelized sugar drips into the mulled wine and flavors it with smoky sweetness.


You will be lit.
This Nordic country tradition was featured as a consumable in World of Warcraft for their first holiday season back in 2004. Don’t let your WoW character have all the fun; Gløgg is fine for humans too.

How to Make Gløgg
2 cups of red wine
1 cup of brandy
Simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat with 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 cardamon pods, 6 cloves, 2 slices of fresh ginger and squeezed peel of orange. Drink with vigor.

Vin Chaud

Good but expensive.
The French variation of “hot wine” uses lemon and Eau de Vie. This particular version is wonderful, particularly with a white wine.
Drinking mulled wine in Portland, OR

Great in theory, terrible in practice (Picture: Getty)

Every year at Christmas I get tempted by mulled wine.

Maybe I’m all wrapped up in my best winter hat at a Christmas market and the smell calls to me.

Ice skating is horrific so why do we insist on going every Christmas?

Or I dart into a pub, cold and wet, and see that inviting soup-pot of mulled wine on the go.

I think oh go on then, I’ll give it a try.

Maybe my palette has changed since last year. Maybe I’ve only drunk sub-standard mulled wines the rest of my life.

Maybe this will be the year that the taste of mulled wine finally lives up to the divine smell of it.

But nope, still terrible. Always terrible.

It’s the alcohol version of herbal tea. It looks good, it smells great, and the idea of it is just delicious, but the taste – the crucial aspect – fails to live up to my hopes and dreams.

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There is too much going on with mulled wine. It tries to be about seven different flavours at once, and none of those flavours are better than normal, boring wine.

Wine doesn’t need any improving, it’s pretty great on its own. Shoving a cinnamon stick in there is only going to make it worse.

I really want to be one of these people (Picture: Getty)

I understand the need for a hot drink in winter. Cosiness is one of the cornerstones of Christmas and I really, REALLY want to be one of those people holding a cup of mulled wine in gloved hands near an ice rink.

But we already have some great hot drinks. Not only do we have various coffees and hot chocolate, but we are a country of tea-obsessives, for crying out loud!

Why is tea suddenly not good enough for us as soon as Christmas rolls around?

Christmas has NAILED food – mince pies, pigs in blankets, chocolate everything else – but Christmas drinks are one misstep after another.

Eggnog is a monstrosity and hot cider is just confusing.

Cider shouldn’t be hot. Cider is a cold, refreshing drink.

I have never once in my life managed to finish a Christmassy beverage.

I’ve always started out optimistically enough, before chucking more than half of it in the bin/down the drain.

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Why do people drink mulled wine? Surely they know it’s disgusting.

Maybe they, too, are just hoping that THIS year will be the year that it suddenly tastes good.

Maybe they discreetly empty their cup in the nearest potted Christmas tree once they realise that it is still – and probably will always be – terrible.

I haven’t had mulled wine yet this year. I give myself about two weeks before I give in to the temptation to try it again just in case.

I’m clearly part of the problem.

MORE: Why does everyone love Christmas markets when it’s just the same four things over and over again?

MORE: I’m sorry but Christmas Eve boxes are complete and utter lunacy

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There’s nothing that says autumn quite like the scent of spices wafting through the crisp, clean air. Cloves, cinnamon, allspice and anise are practically synonymous with the season, and when they make their way into a drink, it’s magic.

Pair that with the fact that mulled wine is easy to make and incredibly adaptable, and you’ve got a home run holiday cocktail.

What is mulled wine?

Mulled wine is a warm drink that is made by simmering wine with brandy or cognac, sugar and spices, like cinnamon and star anise. There are many different ways to make the warm cocktail.

Although some wine snobs may not like the idea of the drink, there are many sommeliers who appreciate the joy of a good mulled wine.

Maureen Petrosky / TODAY Maureen Petrosky

“I am a purist, but I have to admit that when the weather is hot, a sangria is wonderful,” said Caroline Styne, owner and wine director at Lucques and AOC in Los Angeles. “Similarly, when the weather is cold, a nice, warm drink is a great thing,”

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But all too often, the malleability of this cool-weather cocktail is ruined by bartenders who want to be chintzy.

“Unfortunately, sangria and mulled wine are dumping grounds for cheap brandy, curacao, port or wine in many restaurants,” said Jim Meehan, James Beard Award-winning bartender of PDT in New York and Hong Kong. “A mixed drink is only as good as its weakest ingredient (if there is one), so you can’t skimp.”

Krista Simmons / TODAY

DIY Mulled Wine

Krista Simmons

How do you make mulled wine?

When it comes to mulled wine, it’s important to use fresh spices and decent wine. Busting out a bottle from the cellar is nonsensical, but don’t use just any old hooch. A good rule of thumb is to hover around the $10 price point.

“A lot of people use really serious, highly alcoholic zinfandels or cabernet sauvignons, but I tend to use something a little lighter to medium bodied,” said Styne. “I really like a like cotes du rhone or even a grenache.”

Some even suggest using the wine of the moment, beaujolais nouveau, because it’s only released in mid-November, and has that lighter characteristic.

Mike Smith / TODAY

Siri’s Traditional Glogg

Siri Daly

And just like in cooking or mixing cocktails, it’s important for there to be a balance of fruit, spice, acid and earth, which is why Styne suggests adding a bay leaf into the spice sachet, which gives a subtle green, earthy element to the finished product.

To get the right flavor, just avoid overheating the mixture.

“I’m not a scientist, but I find that the high heat can scorch and burn ingredients in the mix, including unfiltered wines,” said Meehan. It also can over-reduce, making for a super saccharine, almost viscous drinks because too much alcohol and water have evaporated.

Clover Club

Gaspare’s Winter Punch

Julie Reiner

The rest is pretty simple. Don’t have allspice? It’s not the end of the world. Try adding in a few peppercorns instead. Not into using refined sugar? Go halfsies with agave syrup. And there’s no need to rush out to buy new glassware, though ideally mulled wine is served in a clear glass mug. It also looks great in vintage teacups, and since they’re so itsy bitsy, it’s easy to justify a second glass.

Cheers to that!

Beat the winter blues with a spiced hot toddy

Jan. 5, 201601:06

Krista Simmons is a Los Angeles-based multimedia journalist. Follow her on Twitter.

This article was originally published on Nov. 15, 2012.

Winter Warmer: Mulled Wine

With the holidays behind us and your white Christmas officially turned to nothing but a cold, grey winter… and January can feel, well, bleak. I think January is an opportune time to play host to your friends. Everyone needs an excuse to get out of the house! Host some friends, have the fireplace going, play some cards, and have some laughs. We’re all in this together, right? I think the perfect party drink for a January night is mulled wine. Steaming and delicious, how wonderful would you feel if you were presented with a hot mug of mulled wine as you walk into a dinner party? It will scent your entire home with inviting, spicy smells.

This recipe comes from a write up I came across about the mulled wine at Chef April Bloomfield’s wildly popular NYC gastropub, The Spotted Pig. I made this for my family on Christmas Eve, and my thoughts instantly went to what a great mid-winter party drink this would make. We sipped on this as a pre-dinner drink; it would be raved about with a Spotted Pig inspired menu – like burgers topped with Roquefort and bacon wrapped figs.

The Spotted Pig’s Mulled Wine

  • 4 750 ml bottles of red wine
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange sliced in wheels
  • ½ lemon sliced in wheels
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the scraping and the pod)
  • ¾ tsp whole cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • +¾ teaspoon whole allspice
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1tsp whole black peppercorn
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 3-4 oz of cognac

Combine all ingredients, except the cognac, in a large stockpot. Bring everything just to a boil over medium high heat and stir often to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the cognac (do not continue to boil the mixture, or you’ll cook off the alcohol – and that would be a shame.) Ladle into warmed glasses or mugs and garnish with an orange wheel.

My Tips: If you can boil water, you can make mulled wine. The hardest part is gathering all of the spices – some of which you probably have on hand. The superfine sugar is suggested, as it is more easily dissolved.

No need to use your best bottles of wine or even your average wine. I made this recipe with two 1.5 liter bottles of inexpensive Frontera Carmenère and finished with Hennessy cognac to a great flavor success. The cognac adds a boozy, warming kick at the end, but allows all of the mulling spices to shine through.

The spices are loose- so straining out the whole spices is suggested if you don’t care for the rustic appeal of the floating clove OR, wrap all the spices into a bit of cheese cloth to pick right out after adding the cognac.

If you are short on stove space, or want to make the mulled wine- to go, heat the wine slowly in a slow cooker and add the cognac just before serving.

Cheers to a warm winter! – Lindsey Coleman

Ahh, mulled wine… The steam and spicy scent wafting up from the hot pan, the rich, heart-warming red-berry flavour, the heat on cold fingers wrapped around the glass… for many of us this is the elixir of Christmas, and making it from scratch a jolly winter ritual. Sometimes though, it’s more like a festive faff, especially when we are already short of time. That’s when it’s tempting to buy the ready-made bottled versions.

I put eight readily available mulled wines to a taste test, with mixed results. I found most bottled mulled red wines are cheap, mainly because there is an inexpensive, rather ordinary wine making up most of the concoction. (It will almost certainly cost you more to make your own, even from the cheapest red wine, if you factor in spices/or spice sachets, sugar, juice).

Note they are also relatively low in alcohol, the examples I tasted weighing in at between 8-11%, compared to most red wines at 12-14.5%, though clearly that increases if you add a dash of port or spirit to the pot.

The test:

I was looking for a good balance of sweetness and strength of spice, and a decent, moreish flavour of a good red wine at the base. I tasted each one simply warmed through, not boiled, without adding any sugar or citrus slices, to get at its true character, for better or for worse.

The results:

Note the top three, even on special offer, are the most expensive (per cl). Seems you get what you pay for when it comes to ready made mulled wine… (marks out of 10):

1st: Waitrose Mulled Wine (9/10)


75cl, 11% alc, £4.99, down to £4.29 until 29 Dec.

Smooth, fairly rich wine at the core, with a distinctive and appealing peppery twist to the spicy flavours. Good stuff, and (whisper this) could probably be passed off as homemade from scratch.

• Buy Now – £4.49, Telegraph Wine from Waitrose

2nd: Marks & Spencer Red Mulled Wine (8/10)

75cl, 11% alc, £6, down to £4 from 1 Dec-1 Jan.

A juicy, fresh, decent red wine (from Spain) is the base here. Well balanced, lighter on spice than some but on the sweet side, so I won’t be adding more ‘sugar to taste’ as suggested on the label.

3rd: Taste the Difference Mulled Wine, Sainsbury’s (7/10)

75cl, 11% alc, £6, down to £4.25 until 8 Dec.

Quite rich and strongly flavoured. Just about gets away with it, and will appeal if you like your mull robustly spiced and with plenty of aroma.

4th: Asda Mulled Wine (6/10)


75cl, 8% alc, £2.50

The cheapest in the taste test and not bad at all, just a shade too sweet and rather too clumsily strong in clove flavour for my palate. Low on alcohol, note.

5th: The Co-operative Mulled Wine (5/10)

75cl, 10% alc, £3.99 down to £2.99 from 25 Nov-3 Jan

This is based on ‘British wine and elderberry juice’ which tastes fresh but doesn’t quite stand up to the powerful clove flavour. Very spicy and sweet.

6th: St Gabriel Gluhwein, Aldi (4/10)

1 litre, 9% alc, £4.99

Unusual, with a note of mocha, and a lighter texture than most. Not entirely unappealing but not quite the usual flavours of mulled wine.

=7th Christkindl Gluhwein, Lidl (3/10)

1 litre, 8.7% alc, £4.49

Very sweet base wine, strong clove flavour, and some odd hints of aniseed, winter mint and a cough mixture finish. No thanks.

=7th Tesco Mulled Wine (3/10)

75cl, 10% alc, £3.99 down to £3.50 until 5 January,

Strangely unappealing, drier than most and slightly bitter on the finish. Cries out for sugar, fruit juice and a big slug of brandy.

I also tried:

Selsley Gourmet Mulling Syrup, Majestic Wine


50cl, no alcohol, £5.99

Love this spicy syrup, which comes in an attractive slim bottle with a cinnamon quill inside and turns approx 4.5 litres of red wine into a delicious mull, for little effort. The good news here is you can use a quality red of your choice as the base; the bad news is you have to buy that as well, of course. 9/10 if made up with a £6-ish bottle of likeable Spanish red.

Fortnum & Mason Christmas Mulled Wine Spice Bag

4 bags, £6.95

I followed the instructions to the letter, adding water, a good quality £6 Spanish red, juice, sugar and a slug of brandy, and liked the perfumed result, although a lot of this depends on your own taste (how much spirit, sugar, which red wine etc). Very prettily packaged, certainly an appealing Christmas gift. 8/10

Schwartz Mulled Wine Spice Sachets

6 sachets, approx £1.40

I’ve been using Schwartz sachets for years and find them cheap, easy and consistent. Use a palatable red as the base, splash in smooth orange juice and a little sugar to taste, add citrus slices and a slug of brandy and warm through. Bingo. 8.5/10

And if you want to make your own…

  • Which red as the base? Unoaked Spanish tempranillo, Rhone reds, Chilean merlot and southern French syrah – all young, fresh and relatively inexpensive – get my vote.
  • If making from scratch, start by adding a couple of cloves, a cinnamon stick broken in half, 200ml smooth orange juice, about 1 tablespoon of sugar and a dash – say, 50ml – of brandy or red port for each bottle of wine. Stir, heat, taste and increase spices and/or sugar until right for you.
  • Always heat up the liquid slowly, bringing it to just under simmering point. Never let your mull boil or the alcohol will disappear into the winter night and the wine might taste jammy.
  • Add any extra ingredients (such as brandy or port, fruit juice and sugar) gradually, tasting as you go. If you put it in bit by bit you won’t end up with an unbalanced result.
  • Go very easy on the cloves, the rich oil of which overwhelms the flavour of many mulls. Start off with just two or three cloves to a bottle of wine; you can always increase the quantity down the line after tasting.
  • Thick juicy citrus slices, especially orange, are the best fruit to add to mulled wine. They deliver a tangy hint and look attractive and Christmassy.
  • Make mulled wine in smallish batches, starting a fresh batch from time to time, rather than hanging on to a huge vat of (by the end of the evening) a rather woody, old-tasting drink.
  • Ideally, serve in short, stumpy, thick glass tumblers. Make sure every glass has a citrus slice from the pot. A cinnamon stick to stir is a nice touch.

Best Served Hot: Mulled wine is on the menu

Sand Castle Winery, Alpine Spice
Erwinna, PA

A perennial favorite, this sweet mulled wine is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Riesling grapes, boosted with a proprietary spice blend. It can be served warm or chilled.

Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery, Spiced Winter Red
Breinigsville, PA

This popular winter wine is made in the style of the traditional German Glühwein, a mulled wine made with citrus and warming spices. Serve this sweet red warm for a cozy treat.

Chaddsford Winery, Spiced Apple Wine
Chadds Ford, PA

Inspired by mom’s apple pie — or at least the pie you wish your mother would have made — this wine oozes the essence of apple, cinnamon, and spice. The winery recommends brewing up a hot mulled wine by tossing a bottle in the crockpot with cranberry juice, sugar, a clove-studded orange, and cinnamon. Top with fresh apple slices.

Penns Woods Winery, Bancroft Mulling Wine
Chadds Ford, PA

You can enjoy Penns Woods’ beloved hot spiced wine at the vineyard or at home: A blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this rosé comes with a packet of their signature spice mix and instructions for no-fail mulled wine magic.


Of course, if it’s too cold to head to one of these wineries — or even your local wine shop — you can get cooking with a Pennsylvania red from your rack. The best options will be fruit-forward and full-bodied so they can stand up to the additional flavors. Don’t use anything too pricey since much of the nuance will be lost in the process.

Be sure not to overheat the wine (alcohol starts to vaporize at 173 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep the temperature well below that). This is why a crockpot is such an easy option. Some classic additions include clove, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, honey, brandy, and orange. If you’re looking to experiment, you can toss in cardamom, bay leaf, sage, lemon zest, chamomile flowers, or even ginger.

Here is a basic mulled wine recipe, but you have our permission to improvise:

1 bottle of red wine
Two oranges, sliced thinly
Handful of cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 cup of orange juice

Combine in a crockpot or large pot on low heat. Let ingredients infuse for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy.

The wines mentioned in this article were available as of the date of publication . Contact the winery directly for current inventory.