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Mulled wine - easy to make !

...and very good!

The Christmas markets are over and with them the time when you could buy mulled wine everywhere. I always feel that the months of January and February are the coldest of the year and, should a few snowflakes fall, then is the perfect time to cozy up on the sofa with a glass of "vin chaud", as it´s called in France, or “Glühwein” in Germany.

spices, orange, star anise, clove, cinnamon
spices for the mulled wine - picture: Lynne Garell

Homemade mulled wine tastes best and so today I offer you my favorite recipe.

But first, a few facts.

By German law mulled wine is a "flavored wine-based beverage" made exclusively from red wine, white wine or rosé, and sweetened as well as spiced. The addition of alcohol is prohibited, as are water or colorants. The existing alcohol content must be at least 7% by volume and less than 14.5% by volume.

Terms such as "Winzer-Glühwein" guarantee that the mulled wine was prepared only from the winery mentioned on the label. If you find the indication “German Glühwein” on the label, this was produced exclusively from domestic base wines.

Historically, wine was already being flavored by the Romans, but whether it was also warmed is not known.

But we do know when mulled wine was first sold in bottles in Germany: It was in the winter of 1956 when Rudolf Kunzmann in Augsburg added sugar and spices to wine and bottled it. Unfortunately, sugar was banned as an ingredient at the time, and he received a fine - which is now the record of the first bottling. Nowadays, it is permitted to use sugar, and the company is one of the most successful mulled wine producers in Germany.

The fact that rosé wine may also be processed into mulled wine has only been allowed since 2022 (in Germany) and therefore today I would like to present you a rosé mulled wine recipe


The most important thing for a good mulled wine is the quality of the wine. I would always only use a wine (no matter what color) which tastes good to me even when cold and unseasoned.

I find it best to use a wine that has not been aged in wood barrels and tends to be a bit fruitier overall. Too many tannins can give a tart taste when heated. A pinot noir, merlot or even a nice Beaujolais are good recommendations.

For the rosé I used a German "Weissherbst".

Rosé mulled wine in the carafe,  spices, orangen slices
Rosé mulled wine in the carafe - Picture: Lynne Garell

The spices should also be of good quality.


500 ml rosé wine

1 organic orange

1 star anise

1 clove

1 small piece of cinnamon stick

1 cardamom pod

2 tablespoons sugar


Pour the wine into a pot, squeeze the orange, and add the juice to the wine. Cut some of the peel into fine strips and add it as well. Add the pressed cardamom pod and the remaining spices and sugar. Now put the lid on top and heat everything. It is best to let it all infuse for at least 30 minutes.

It´s important that the wine should not boil, otherwise the alcohol will evaporate

(from 78 °C/ 172 ° F) and the spices will also change their flavor.

Orangen, Orangensaft, Glühwein

If you want to drink the wine the next day, simply bottle it and carefully heat it again the next day. Then the spices also have time to develop their full aroma. However, I would never make mulled wine too far in advance, because otherwise it begins to oxidize which also changes the taste.

And here are a few more facts about the spices we use in this mulled wine:

Spices star anise, Glühwein, mulled wine
Star anise Picture: Lynne Garell

Star anise is a fruit of the evergreen magnolia tree. Here the whole fruit is dried, and you can recognize it by its star shape. The essential oil helps against bloating and makes food more digestible. The tree grows in southern China and Vietnam.

The cloves are the dried buds of the clove tree, which originated in the Moluccas group of islands, a part of the Spice Islands. Today, however, the tree is cultivated in many countries. It contains the aromatic oil eugenol, which lends it the typical taste. However, eugenol also has an analgesic and local anesthetic effect, which is why it is often used as a toothache remedy.

Cinnamon is divided into Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. The main difference lies in the concentration of cinnamaldehyde and coumarin. These are higher in the Cassia cinnamon, and yet the Ceylon cinnamon is one of the more valuable cinnamon varieties. The Cinnamomum verum trees grow in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China and can grow up to ten meters (32 ft.) high. The inner bark is harvested and dried in the sun, where it curls up into the typical cinnamon sticks. These cinnamon sticks are slightly lighter in color than those of cassia cinnamon, which is used primarily in industrial products.

Cardamom belongs to the ginger family and develops its aroma only through drying. The green capsules are best pressed briefly with the back of a knife before using them, as this allows the aroma to develop better. Originally, cardamom comes from India, where it is also called the "queen of spices". It is said to help with stomach cramps and digestive problems and to be mood-lifting.

However, when seasoning mulled wine, it is important not to use too much of the spices. They should complement the aroma of the wine, but not overpower it. This is also so with the sugar less is more and the chances of headaches significantly lower.

drinking mulles wine, the first sip of glühwein
the first sip Picture: Lynne Garell

And one more tip in the end:

If you want to make mulled wine without alcohol, then simply use grape or apple juice instead of wine.

I would love to know, if you liked the recipe.

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