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How to Make the Best Mulled Wine for New Year's Eve

Family traditions should go on forever. Making mulled wine at New Year Eve is one traditon I hold very dear.

How to Make Mulled Wine

How to Make Mulled Wine

What Is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is a hot wine beverage, spiced with different mulled spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, along with an orange and a lemon, sugar and sometimes raisins. In the Netherlands, it's known as Bisschop's wijn; in Germany, it's known as Glühwein; in Hungary, it's known as forralt bor; and so on.

Different recipes are used in different countries, but in this article, I'll show you my traditional homemade bishop's wine.

What Is the Best Wine to Use in Mulled Wine?

Though you can use any kind of red wine to make mulled wine, I would recommend choosing the common red wine from your local supermarket. It is, in my opinion, the best wine to use for this hot beverage. No need to spend more money than needed, either, as the wine will be mixed with orange and lemon juice, sugar and spices.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

5 hours

6 hours

Serves at least 10 to 15 glasses of wine


  • 0.75 gallon cheap wine, equals 3 liter
  • 1 juicy orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 cup cloves
  • 18 ounces sugar, varies to your taste
  • 1 big kettle or pan, make sure it's enamelled, don't use iron or copper
Mulled Wine Ingredients: wine, lemon, orange, sugar, cinnamon, gloves

Mulled Wine Ingredients: wine, lemon, orange, sugar, cinnamon, gloves

How to Make Mulled Wine

  1. Pour the wine into the kettle or the pan.
  2. Decorate the orange and the lemon with cloves. An easy way to do this is to take a fork and prick holes in the orange and lemon skin and push the cloves in. You can either push them in randomly, or you can make a pattern.
  3. Put the decorated orange and lemon, along with the 3 sticks of cinnamon and part of the sugar in the wine.
  4. Put the kettle or pan on the stove and let the wine heat up very, very slowly. Make sure it won't go over the boiling point or all alcohol will evaporate.
  5. Take a sip once in a while to taste if it's sweet enough. If not add some sugar and stir it to make sure it dissolves.
Orange and lemon with cloves

Orange and lemon with cloves

Spike the Orange and the Lemon with Cloves

The orange and lemon juice should mingle with the red wine. In order to accomplish that you could slice up both fruits and put the cloves in separately, but that could become very messy in your wine, and then you have to put it through a sieve. I don't like that, and that's why I spike the orange and lemon peel with cloves

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You can try to push in the cloves directly with your thumb, but I guarantee you that you will have very sore thumb and/or fingers in the end because the cloves are rather sharp. I use a fork, and that makes it a lot easier. I also do like to make different patterns, and I think they look very nice this way.

Mulling Spices

Besides the orange and the lemon, I only use cloves and cinnamon to spice up my mulled wine. That's how my mom did it, and it tastes so good that I have no interest in experimenting with other spices.

Spices that are also used are:

  • allspice
  • nutmeg
  • star anise
  • ginger
  • peppercorn
  • cardamom

Vintage Kettle

The kettle I use is a vintage kettle, originally used to make hot chocolate in. It comes from the family, I think from my dad's side. It doesn't show, but it can hold 0.75 gallons of wine. This kind of kettle is the best to make mulled wine in. The lid is small enough to keep the flavor in, and it's big enough to put the orange and lemon in. You can still buy vintage 2-quart kettles online, and I would recommend doing so.

Of course, you can choose only to use one bottle of wine, but in my experience, you'll soon regret that you didn't pour in more. Even the next day this mulled wine, when heated up on the stove or in the microwave, will still taste delicious.

2-Quart Red Vintage Kettle

2-Quart Red Vintage Kettle

Short History of Mulled Wine

The old Romans might not have been the friendliest people, conquering great parts of the European mainland as they did, but they knew very well how to enjoy themselves as it comes to food and beverage. They already knew as early as the 2nd century how to make this delicious hot alcoholic beverage, and they've spread it over all countries they invaded, even all the way up to Scotland.

As all countries gave their own twist to this hot wine as far as spices are concerned, there are almost as many recipes as there are people who make this mulled wine.

In my family, it was the traditional beverage for New Year's Eve as long as I can remember and we toasted to the New Year at 12:00am with a glass of mulled wine and a lot of kisses and good wishes. After my dad died and my mom had moved to an elderly home, she gave me the recipe, and her special vintage mulled wine kettle, and I've made this marvelous hot wine ever since at New Year's Eve.

Mulled Wine in a Slightly Different Way

How Would You Rate My Homemade Mulled Wine Recipe

© 2018 Titia Geertman

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