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Mulled wine is a spicy, warmed wine traditionally enjoyed in Europe at Christmas.

The spices used in a traditional or classic mulled wine are cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise; however, different countries have different recipes.

Like sangria, it is a versatile recipe and many elements can be substituted.

Other popular spices that work well include: peppercorns, cardamom pods, allspice berries and nutmeg.

Easy traditional mulled wine recipe


  • 1 bottle fruity red wine
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 clementine
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar


Using a vegetable peeler, peel 2 strips from the lemon and peel all of the clementine.

Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon and clementine zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool. Leave to infuse for about 30 minutes.

To serve, heat without boiling, and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.

Add a twist

Add a dash of sloe gin, rum or brandy.

Best red wines to make mulled wine

Ideally, choose a full-bodied, fruity wine as the spices and fruit will disguise any nuances in a delicate wine like pinot noir. Zinfandel or Merlot will work well, as will Chianti and Rioja.

Best fruit to put in mulled wine

If you don’t have clementine, you can substitute with oranges. Limes can also be used instead of (or as well as) lemons.

Did you know…

Mulled wine is called glühwein in Germany and glögg in Nordic countries, like Sweden. The Swedish word glögg comes from the words glödgat vin or hot wine.

In the Nordic countries, hot wine has been a common drink since at least the 16th century.