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Holiday Spiced Mulled Wine

This warmly spiced, fruity mulled wine recipe with tart cranberries will keep you warm from head to toe all winter. Made on the stove or in the crockpot, its hints of brandy and oranges will make it your go-to drink this holiday season.

Why You’ll Love This Spiced Mulled Wine Recipe

You’ll be making potfuls of this easy, aromatic mulled wine recipe from the time the leaves turn brown to when snow starts falling.

  • Simple. Throw it all into the pot and let it simmer away. It’s perfect even for beginners.
  • Boozy. There’s lots of red wine and hints of sweet brandy in every sip.
  • Convenient. Use the crockpot for a set-and-forget recipe!
  • Perfect holiday cocktail. It’s easily doubled or tripled and can be served in the crockpot to keep it warm all night.

What Is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine, a traditional European winter drink, is essentially red wine infused with warm spices and adorned with sliced fruits, served piping hot. Common spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. Apples, oranges, and cranberries are often used to impart a fruity essence. Prepared on the stove, the mixture is simmered until its fragrance fills the air. Mulled wine is served as a warm cocktail, perfect for festive gatherings or a late-night holiday drink.

Bottle of red wine for the recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

Brandy adds smokey depth with hints of oak. Don’t skip it. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact quantities.

  • Red wine – I prefer Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Merlot.
  • Brandy – Use your favorite! Cognac or rum are good swaps.
  • Orange – 1/2 large lemon works too.
  • Frozen cranberries – Feel free to use fresh ones. Double the amount if you’re using dried.
  • Whole cloves – Avoid ground cloves because the conversion would be less than 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Cinnamon stick – Only cinnamon sticks can infuse lots of earthy spice without becoming overwhelming.
  • Star anise – Make sure they’re about 1/2″ in size.
Two glasses of spiced mulled wine.

How to Make Mulled Wine

Set a timer on your phone so you remember when it’s time to remove it from the heat. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Stir it. Add all of the ingredients to a pot. Cover it. If your pot tends to over-flow, don’t cover it completely.
  • Simmer. Set the stove to medium heat and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes. Check back on it every 10 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t come to a boil.
  • Serve. Remove it from the heat. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tips for Success

Not a lot can go wrong, especially if you use the crockpot to make this mulled wine recipe.

  • Add a rim. Dip the serving glasses into orange juice and then into cinnamon sugar. Let them air dry for 10 minutes before pouring in the drink.
  • Choose the right wine for you. Dry wine like Cabernet or Merlot are great if you want to appreciate the wine’s flavor with hints of spice. However, sweeter wines like Lambrusco are perfect for more of a dessert-like drink.
  • Use the crockpot. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and thrown into the crockpot if you want to serve it at a holiday party. Set it to LOW for 2-3 hours and then “Warm” for the duration of the gathering.
  • Sweeten it. Add brown sugar, maple syrup, raw honey, or agave nectar to taste to sweeten the cocktail. 1-3 tablespoons of sugar usually do it for me.
Warm cocktail with sliced oranges and cinnamon.

Spiced Mulled Wine Variations

Play around with the wine, herbs, and spices!

  • Go for white wine. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling are amazing swaps for red wine in this recipe.
  • Make mulled rosé wine. Grenache Rosé and Syrah Rosé are amazing if you like the best of both worlds: dry and fruity wines. Choose your favorite!
  • Add apple cider. Swap half of the red wine for apple cider to increase the fruitiness in every sip.
  • Make it herby. Add a 4″ rosemary or thyme sprig and let it simmer with the wine. It’ll release herby goodness and enhance the flavor profile.
  • Add more spices/aromatics. Incorporating a 1″ piece of fresh ginger or 2 cardamom pods into the mixture can add more spice. Strain them out when the mulled wine is ready.
Warm holiday drink in a glass with sliced oranges and a cinnamon stick stirrer.

Serving Suggestions

This mulled wine recipe is a great way to kick off your holiday parties. Serve it with easy appetizers like my Baked Brie and Goat Cheese Balls. Check out my Charcuterie Board Ideas for extra inspiration. It’s also an amazing way to lead up to dessert. I love munching on my Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti as I sip on mulled wine. My Fudgy Peppermint Brownies are another festive sweet treat idea to pair it with.

Proper Storage

This spiced mulled wine recipe can’t be frozen, but you can make it in advance. It only gets better with time!

  • Fridge: Place it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep it in the back of the fridge where it’s coldest and away from any strong-smelling foods.
  • To reheat it: Microwave it in 20 second intervals until warm. You can also heat it in a pot over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

More Holiday Cocktail Recipes

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Mulled wine in a glass.

Holiday Spiced Mulled Wine

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


This easy mulled wine recipe with brandy, cranberries, and oranges is the perfect cocktail to keep you warm through the winter.


  • 1 bottle of red wine (pinor noir, cabernet, merlot)
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium sauce pan or dutch oven. Cover.
  2. Turn burners to medium heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve!


  • Serving Size: 6 oz cup
  • Calories: 157
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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19 comments on “Holiday Spiced Mulled Wine”

  1. Avatar photo
    Sharon @What The Fork

    This drink is a must try for our family gatherings- I know that this wouldn’t last very long!

  2. Avatar photo
    Carole from Carole's Chatter

    Hi Krista, love this. Would you like to share this with the other participants in Food on Friday over at Carole’s Chatter? I have a weekly link up party – each week there is a different ingredient or theme. The current theme is Christmas Favorites.

    You can see upcoming themes in one of the pages at the top of my home page. If you would like to join in the fun please schedule a reminder for each week. The collection starts at 7am Friday New Zealand time – which is probably some time Thursday your time – I do find time zones quite confusing. Hope to see you soon. Cheers, Carole

  3. I’ve never had mulled wine, but your pictures have convinced me to try it — especially now that it’s finally cold here!

  4. Avatar photo
    Cookin Canuck

    I just want to wrap my hands around a mug of this! This would go over really well with my extended family for our Christmas dinner celebration.