6 Global Mulled Wine Recipes
Few drinks have enjoyed more staying power than mulled wine. With roots dating back to the Middle Ages, “mulled” wine (which means heated and spiced) may have been invented to make bad-tasting wine more palatable, or to simply help warm people up.
Today, there are countless variations that incorporate festive fruits, aromatic spices and local liqueurs. Forget about Grandma’s old hot toddy recipe. Spin the globe with Wine Enthusiast to make a more exotic mulled wine recipe at home.
Recipe courtesy Gerard Craft, chef, Pastaria, St. Louis
Meaning “burnt wine” in Italian, vin brulé can be tied to the Dolomites area of Northern Italy. “Think the foothills to the Alps,” says Aaron Sherman, wine director at Niche Restaurant Group.
“As far as choice of wine when making vin brulé, it should be Italian, and fairly rich and fruity. I would recommend Lagrein or Barbera as the best options. Don’t worry too much about wines of super-high quality. As long as it’s decent, it will work very well.”
1 bottle of Northern Italian red wine
¼ cup white sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 star anise pod
Pinch of nutmeg
Zest of 1 lemon
1 orange, sliced
Combine wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, lemon zest and orange slices in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture is heated through, but not boiling. Remove from heat, strain and transfer to punchbowl or other vessel. Serve while hot. Serves 6.
Recipe courtesy La Bastide de Marie, Ménerbes, France
In Provence, special drinking and dining traditions at Christmastime exemplify the region’s seasonal bounty. At the boutique hotel La Bastide de Marie, housemade mulled wine is served alongside the 13 traditional desserts of Christmas, called le gros souper, including “the four beggars” (dried figs, almonds, raisins and nuts), dates, black and white nougat, focaccia with olive oil, quince paste or candied fruits, and fresh fruit (like tangerines, oranges or winter melons). To bring a taste of the region home for the holidays, look for a red wine blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grapes from Provence to create your vin chaud base.
2 cups red wine from Provence
⅓ cup Grand Marnier
⅓ cup Cointreau
⅓ cup Curaçao
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange segment, for garnish
1 lemon segment, for garnish
Combine wine, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Curaçao, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and clove in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir well to make sure sugar dissolves. Once the liquid starts to shiver, remove from heat and serve immediately (do not boil). Garnish with orange and lemon segments, if desired. Serves 6.
Recipe courtesy St. Regis Aspen Resort, Aspen, Colorado
“The St. Regis Aspen sticks to the formal, traditional German Glühwein, which is made with red wine and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus and sugar,” says Tobias Rimkus, director of catering and event management at the resort. “Though some families in Germany prefer a variant called Feuerzangenbowle, which is when a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and allowed to slowly drip into the Glühwein.”
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
1½ cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries
1 star anise pod
2 oranges, halved
10 cloves, whole
8 juniper berries
1 lemon, halved
1½ bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
Orange twists, for garnish
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
Combine water, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice and star anise in a pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a mild simmer.
Juice the orange halves into the simmering liquid. Stud the remaining rinds with the cloves and gently place into the pot. Add juniper berries. Next, juice the lemon into the simmering liquid, and place the halves into the pot.
Reduce the mixture to half of its original volume, add the Cabernet Sauvignon and heat until just below simmering. Ladle into glass mugs. Garnish with orange twist and cinnamon stick. Serves 8.
Recipe courtesy Fairmont Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
If maple makes an appearance in your mulled wine, you must be in Canada. At the Fairmont Tremblant in Quebec, guests warm up after a day on the slopes of the Laurentian Mountains with this vin chaud variation. It features Sortilège, a Canadian maple whiskey liqueur, and apple syrup from Lacroix Orchard in nearby St-Joseph-du-Lac (home chefs can use an apple syrup from a gourmet grocer).
5 ounces Shiraz, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
1¼ ounces Sortilège Maple Whiskey Liqueur
2 ounces apple syrup (available in gourmet shops)
1¼ ounces Poor Man’s Kitchen Five Spice Syrup
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of grated nutmeg
In a saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine red wine, liqueur, and apple and five spice syrups. Stir well and heat through, but do not boil. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and remove from heat. Ladle into cups and serve hot. Serves 6.
Recipe courtesy Visit Norway
For an authentic Norwegian gløgg, spike the base with aquavit, Norway’s national drink. “It’s a potato-based spirit commonly flavored with savory herbs like dill, fennel or coriander,” says Harald Hansen, public information manager at Visit Norway. “This is the way my family in Norway serves it, and most of my friends.”
1 bottle of red wine
1 teaspoon cardamom
5 whole cloves
1 large sliced cinnamon stick
1 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
12 ounces white sugar
½ 750-ml bottle of aquavit (or substitute vodka or Cognac)
3½ ounces raisins
3½ ounces sliced almonds
Heat the red wine slowly in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Put the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a spice bag and add to the pot. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.
Remove the pan from heat and let cool, approximately 2 hours. Add the aquavit to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Heat until just before mixture reaches a boil. Add raisins and almonds. Transfer mixture to a punchbowl, remove the spice bag and ladle into large glass cups with little spoons, scooping up raisins and almonds. Serves 8.
Recipe courtesy Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
“There is no Chinese equivalent to mulled wine,” says Edwina Kluender, director of communications at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. “The Chinese people in Hong Kong might drink hot ginger tea with herbs during winter, but that’s not alcoholic. Mulled wine, however, is definitely very popular among expats who brought the tradition over in the first place.”
The expat version typically uses Merlot as a base, and incorporates a bay leaf into the spice profile.
1 bottle Merlot
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch grated nutmeg
½ orange, sliced
1 dried bay leaf
½ lemon wheel studded with cloves and star anise pod, for garnish, if desired
Cinnamon stick, for garnish, if desired
Pour wine into a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar and add cinnamon stick,
nutmeg, orange and bay leaf. Stir mixture until sugar dissolves .Allow to heat through, but not boil. Remove from heat, ladle into small glass cups and serve while hot. Add a cinnamon stick and stud a lemon wheel with cloves and star anise pod for garnish, if desired. Serves 5.
- 1Vin Brulé: Italy
- 2Vin Chaud: France
- 3Glühwein: Germany
- 4Quebecois Mulled Wine: Canada
- 5Gløgg: Norway
- 6Expat Mulled Wine: Hong Kong