Everyday Meals

What Is Mulled Wine and How Do You Make It?

Mulled Wine Getty 10/2/19

PSL who? The dropping temperatures mean it’s almost mulled wine season, baby. Here’s everything you need to know about the coziest drink there is: 

What Is Mulled Wine? 

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Mulled wine is a warm beverage made by—you guessed it—mulling wine. 

To “mull,” according to Merriam-Webster, means “to heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices.”

Typically, a red variety is steeped with mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, anise, and nutmeg. Citrus fruits and raisins are sometimes added to the mixture to enhance its flavor. 

Most mulled wine is alcoholic, but there are non-alcoholic versions. 

A popular cool weather treat, the drink has become strongly associated with Christmastime. 

Depending on where you’re sipping it, mulled wine goes by a few different names: Glogg (Sweden), Vin Chaud (France), or Glühwein (Germany).

Mulled Wine History

How to Make Mulled Wine

With Ancient Greek origins, mulled wine has been around since at least the 2nd century. The beverage was actually born of a desire to prevent waste: Excess herbs, spices, and fruits were mixed with wine to make the alcohol more palatable. 

Ancient Romans adopted the practice—their version of the warm drink was called “Conditum Paradoxum.”

In the Middle Ages, people viewed mulled wine as almost medicinal. They believed that the added spices made them healthier. They weren’t exactly wrong: While it is a widely believed myth that people back then exclusively drank beer and wine (people always have and always will need to drink water), alcohol was at times safer than the water that was readily available to city folk, especially during the Black Death. 

What’s the Best Wine for Mulling? 

mulled wine

When making mulled wine, you’re going to want to reach for a fruit-forward, full-bodied red—think Syrah or Malbec. Delicate wines are great for sipping by themselves, but subtle flavors will be easily overpowered by the strong mulling spices.   

Also, you should probably save that $50 bottle for another night—this is a great opportunity to use up some less expensive wine you have laying around. 

How to Make Mulled Wine

You can easily make mulled wine at home or in your slow cooker. Feel free to get creative with the spices you use, but you can always buy convenient mulling spice blends (like this one from Williams-Sonoma or this one from Amazon). 

Make sure to warm the mixture slowly over low heat. Don’t bring it to a boil, unless you want to cook out all the alcohol. 

Here are a few of our favorite mulled wine recipes:

  • Spiced Mulled Wine
  • Blackberry Cardamom Mulled Wine
  • Slow-Cooker Blood Orange Fizzy Mulled Wine

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