The coziest of holiday drinks, the best mulled wine (or glühwein) is super easy to make in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop and makes for a perfectly spiced, warm Christmas drink! Serve alongside Christmas cookies or a yule log cake.
Have you ever had glühwein? If you’ve hung around with any Germans around the holidays, I bet you have. And if you hang around with Nordic folk, you may have heard it called glögg.
And if neither of those rings a bell, I’m sure you’ve heard of mulled wine. Think of it like winter’s sangria.
It’s probably my favorite part about Christkindlmarkt. When I lived in Illinois, I used to go to the one in Chicago every year (after I turned 21, of course) and my first stop was always to get glühwein.
Followed immediately by bratwurst, stuffed pretzels and marzipan candy.
Zero chill or control.
The scent of mulled wine is so damn comforting. There’s something about this particular combination of spices being warmed with red wine that just makes everything cozy.
The aroma fills the house and becomes this amazing natural air freshener that requires no plugins or chemicals. Sure, it fades eventually, but that just means you’ll need to make more mulled wine.
OH DARN. WHATEVER SHALL WE DO.
I always like to make things from scratch, I also like to make things easier when I can. This is where a spice blend from a local farm comes in super handy!
I highly recommend having a tin of mulling spices on hand so that you can throw together a batch of mulled wine at a moment’s notice when guests stop by.
I know we live in a time now when people stopping by unexpectedly causes the urge to turn off all the lights and hide in the closet until they leave, but let’s shove that deep down and welcome people into our homes this holiday season, shall we?!
This batch was made with a tablespoon of fresh mulling spices from Soluna Garden Farm in Massachusetts. We’ve gotten spices from them before at their stall at the Boston Public Market (one of our favorite places to shop local), and they’re absolutely delightful. Their mulling spices are no exception.
Don’t have a local vendor nearby? Your grocery store will likely have something in the coffee/tea aisle, so mosey over there and give it a look.
Is mulled wine different from red wine?
It is! While mulled wine does taste like red wine, the overall flavor profile is changed by heating and “mulling” that wine with some sugar and spices, like star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
Making mulled wine in an Instant Pot
Wait… have I seriously not mentioned anything about the fact that this is made in an Instant Pot yet?! Good grief, Charlie Brown.
So, this is my first Instant Pot recipe on the blog because a friend was kind enough to gift Bill and I with one at our wedding shower/housewarming party.
I’d been mulling over what recipe to post first (GET IT?) and decided this was perfect. No muss, no fuss.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?
Not a problem – if you don’t have an Instant Pot this is just as easy to make on the stove top in a saucepan. Homemade mulled wine isn’t IP exclusive!
In a large saucepan on your stovetop, combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes – don’t let it boil! Alcohol will start to evaporate over around 170°F.
Use a fine mesh sieve (aff link) to strain, if desired, and serve.
Mulled wine ingredients
For this easy mulled wine recipe, you’re going to need:
- A high quality, full bodied red wine (Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, or Malbec are all good options) whose flavor can stand up to being heated
- Star anise
- Cinnamon stick
- Black peppercorns
- Granulated sugar or honey
- Mulling spices
But if you don’t have mulling spices handy, you’ll add:
- Another cinnamon stick
- Whole cloves
- Dried or fresh orange peel
What is “Glühwein mit Schuss”?
I’m a big fan of drinking glühwein mit Schuss, which means that I add another liquor to the mix. My personal favorite is brandy, but you could experiment with your favorite rum as well.
Serving mulled wine
When serving, I like to garnish each mug with a couple orange slices to mine and call it a day, but you can add cinnamon sticks, fresh cranberries, star anise, apple slices… really, whatever you want.
Also, quick note: Those apple slices that were in the pot with everything? They become these ridiculously delicious boozy apple slices. I highly recommend not discarding those and having a snack.
How to store mulled wine
Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- 1 750 mL bottle of a full bodied red wine, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, or Malbec are all good options
- 8 ounces brandy
- 1 apple, any kind, thinly sliced
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon mulling spices*
*If you don’t have pre-made mulling spices, add:
- 1 more cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon dried or fresh orange peel
- Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot and set to cook at high pressure for 1 minute.1 750 mL bottle of a full bodied red wine, 8 ounces brandy, 1 apple, 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey, 1 tablespoon mulling spices*, 1 more cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, Pinch of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon dried or fresh orange peel
- Note: When you set your IP to cook, it will have a preheating period and then will automatically begin to cook at the time you set when it’s ready.
- Using an oven mitt, carefully turn steam valve to release all the pressure.
- If you prefer not to have the spices and apple slices in your drink, just pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before serving.
- Serve with orange slices, apple slices, cinnamon sticks, and/or star anise and enjoy!
- Don’t have an Instant Pot? In a large pot on your stovetop, combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes (don’t let it boil!). Use fine mesh sieve, if desired, and serve.
- Can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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