Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) – Recipe, Tradition, Tips, and Facts

Wine is one of the traditional drinks and mixing it up with spices is a cultural activity. People and ethnicities across the globe mix wine with several fruits and spices to enhance the wine experience. One such cultural wine experiment or wine cocktail is Mulled Wine. Around Christmas and winter festivals, Mulled wines are primarily enjoyed in European countries. With different dialects and cultures, Mulled wines have got different names too. The most famous name for Mulled wine is Glühwein (Gluhwein in English) from Germany. Gluhwein is a type of spiced wine made with a little different set of spices. Few other names and variations for Mulled wines are vin chaud From France, Glogg from Sweden, Spiced wine from a lot of English-speaking nations, and Hot wine or Hot mug for new wine lovers.

What is Mulled wine

Mulled wine is a wine cocktail prepared by heating it up with a specific set of mulling spices like star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. Along with these spices, wine is simmered with some fruits/dry fruits like oranges, apples, raisins, and sometimes almonds too.

Mulled Wine Recipe

How to make mulled wine is probably the easiest question in the world of wines. The recipe for mulling a wine is pretty easy and straightforward. Yes, a lot of variants and experiments can be done with wine but the basics remain the same. What might differ while preparing the spiced wine are a selection of mulling spices, fruits, additional alcohol, and sometimes the heating/simmering time. We’ll talk about the important things to remember while preparing mulled wine right after the recipe section.

Below ingredients and instructions to prepare spiced wine servers 5-6 people.

Yield : 5-6 Servings

Cook Time : 15-20 Minutes



For Preparation

  • 1 bottle of wine (750 ml red for this specific recipe)
  • 1 medium-size orange(sliced into rounds)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tablespoon Honey
  • 60 ml brandy (around 1/4 cup)

For Garnishing (for one serving)

  • 1/2 orange (Yes, Half Moon)
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 whole clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh whole cranberry (optional)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mid-sized saucepan and put it on medium heat.
  2. Keep heating it (on medium heat) to increase the wine temperature but make sure it does not really touch the boiling temperature.
  3. Just before the boiling temperature, turn down the heat to the lowest. (Make sure you completely avoid boiling the wine).
  4. Let it simmer for at least 15 min. Turn off the heat after that.
  5. Now use a strainer to remove all the whole spices, and fruits you added while preparing it.
  6. Serve it in a heatproof mug and garnish it with a fresh orange moon slice, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, and 2 cloves.

Top Things To Remember While Preparing Mulled Wine

Now that you know how easy and fun is Mulling a wine, you must also need to know few more things about mulled wine. If you keep these important tips in mind, you can never go wrong with your cozy hot wine session with friends and family. Let’s go through the Do’s and Don’ts of spiced Wine.

Best Wine For Preparing Mulled Wine

Mulled wine tastes great when made with red wine. This does not mean it cannot be made or enjoyed with white wines. White mulled wine has a great flavor and aroma. Always try to pick a dry or super dry full-bodied wine. No one would like to have a sweet spiced wine, that why always pick a dry one. As the wine will be heated or simmered for some time, there will be alcohol evaporation. To make sure we have enough alcohol left when we serve it, we need a full-bodied wine.

Another point is to make sure that high-end exclusive wines must not be used for mulled wine. There are reasons for them to be expensive. We don’t want you to alter the taste of a wine that has got its beauty after spending several years in a barrel or wine cellar. Just go with a $15-$20 wine, trust us, that will do great.

Do Not Overdo The Whole Spices

The most important thing to remember about mulling spices when preparing mulled wine is to control the quantity. Always use whole spice(spice in its whole form), do not crush and powder them as this might impact the end flavor. Make sure you do not overdo the spices because these mulling spices are generally warm spices. A small number of warm spices provide good warmth inside and overconsumption can make your stomach upset.

Fruit Options

ORANGES!!! Yes, that the most preferred fruit when it comes to mulling a wine. However, once you get a hold of mulling wines, don’t afraid to try some other options like berries, apple, ginger, pear, and even dry fruits like almonds and raisins. Rosemary can infuse a great aroma and taste in your mulling wine, especially in a White mulled wine.

Sweetness Factor

Spiced wines are generally prepared with dry wines because sweetness can subside the essence of spices. However, it always tastes better when you add a little bit of sweetness while preparing your hot wine. Residual sugar in the wine somehow does not add that flavor(that’s why it’s recommended to use dry wine and add additional sweetness while preparing). Try honey or maple syrup instead of regular sugar to make it a lot better.

Additional Alcohol

This depends upon drinkers. It is recommended to use full-bodied wines as some of the alcohol will be evaporated while heating it up. To make sure your spiced wine makes you a little tipsy, brandy is widely used. Don’t shy to try some other alcohols like cognac, rum, or maybe bourbon (honey goes very well with it for sweetness).

Server Hot or Reheat?

It’s a Top Secret! Heat but do not serve it right there. Yes, spiced wines taste a lot better when you cool it down after preparing it and let it sit idle for some time (maybe 5-6 hours). This allows spices, herbs, and fruits to infuse their best flavors into your wine. Reheat just before you serve.

Mulled Wine Food Pairing

It is not as tricky as regular wine and food pairing. Spiced wines are generally enjoyed at bedtime. Try to pair them with light sweet cinnamon cake or with the date and fig cake. Cute miniature mince pies, quiches, and stilton cheese taste yum with mulled wines. One can never go wrong with a typical Swedish pairing with glogg. Try your glogg with pickled onion, pickled fish, and crackers.

Difference Between Mulled Wine and Gluhwein

Name, culture, and ready to use spices (Gluehfix), That’s it. Yes, essentially, both Mulled wine and Gluhwein(Gluehwein) are the same. Most of the English-speaking nations call it Mulled wine whereas, in Germany and Austria, it is famous with the name Gluhwein which means “glow wine”. Gluhwein is so widespread in Germany that some companies have started manufacturing a ready-to-use spice tea bag that is called Gluehfix. This bag has all the mulling spices in the right proportion to prepare Gluhwein.

Another slight difference is about the sweetener used for Gluhwein. Germans prefer to use Turbinado instead of regular white sugar. This partially refined sugar contains some of the original molasses that give a unique caramelized flavor to Gluhwein. You can find a lot of pre-spiced mix wines in Germany and Austria. These wines have all the flavors of mulling spices and all you need to do is reheat and garnish before serving.

Myths & Facts About Mulled Wine


Mulled wines can only be enjoyed during winters.

Mulled wines are sweet.

Mulled wines are not good for the stomach.

Mulled wines do not contain alcohol.

Mulled wine cannot be kept for long or stored


Mulled wines are best for winters but you can always go for these even in summers. Just make sure you cut down the quantity of the mulling spices to 3/4 of the original recipe.

Dry wines(wines with no sweetness) are used to prepare mulled wines. Though a little sweetness is added (optional) while preparing the mulled wine that is to enhance the taste. Mulled wines are way less sweet than any other port wine.

A lot of mulling spices can upset your stomach(only sometimes). Always stick to the quantity mentioned in the recipe.

Full-bodied wines are used to prepare mulled wines. Also, while preparing it, additional alcohol in the form of brandy is added. These wines contain more alcohol than any other medium/full-bodied wines.

On the contrary, the best-mulled wine experience comes from a wine that was set aside after mulling it. You can always reheat and drink the mulled wine. Every time, when you reheat it, it becomes better.