Mulled wine

Dec 6, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. ET

It’s that magical time of year when towns and cities are transformed into vibrant Christmas wonderlands. Christmas markets throughout the U.K. are bustling, filled with amazing scents of festive foods, unique gifts and a holiday favourite — mulled wine. Warm, spicy, aromatic and boozy… there’s nothing more comforting at wintertime.

festive display of mulled wine garnished with oranges and cinnamon sticks star anise candles and other christmas decorations

Mulled wine is great to prepare in advance for dinner parties or for any time you expect guests. Its sweet and spicy aromas merrily greet all visitors and spread Christmas cheer. On a cold winter's day, a glass, after you've come inside, instantly warms you from top to toe .

Which wine?

This winter favourite can be made with any cheap bottle of red wine but it's best made with fruity and unoaked varieties. If you opt for oaked or tannin wines, you may end up with a very bitter result. Cabernet Sauvignon is a good safe bet but any of your favourite fruity reds will do.

Mulled wine: Two ways

Make it naughty or nice. Keep the wine for naughty and substitute cranberry, apple or grape juice for nice. Either route you take, you'll still spread Christmas cheer. Cheers!

Warming Christmas cheer in a glass

Serving size 12


  • 3 clementines
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams light brown sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 bottles of fruity red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


  1. Peel and juice two of the clementines and add the peel and juice to a large saucepan along with the lemon zest, sugar and spices.
  2. Cover the mixture with a level amount of wine and heat gently until the sugar dissolves, while stirring occasionally.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil for up to 8 to 10 minutes until a thick syrup has formed. Continue to carefully stir the liquid.
  4. Turn down the heat and slowly pour the remainder of the wine and the Grand Marnier liqueur into the pan.
  5. Slice the third clementine into small wedges for garnish.
  6. Strain the liquid through a sieve before serving it in glasses, garnished with the sliced clementine.

More on winter entertaining

Mulled cider recipe
Warm drink recipes for the winter holidays
Great British cheeseboard