Recipe for the ‘best mulled wine you’ve ever tasted’

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Christmas is just around the corner and a classic seasonal drink that is a hit with many is mulled wine. Here’s how to make the best mulled wine according to wine experts, and how to make it using a slow cooker to save energy and time. 

Neil Palmer, wine expert and director of leading organic wine retailer, Vintage Roots shared an easy-to-follow recipe that will produce “the best homemade mulled wine you’ve ever tasted”. 

Neil said: “Mulled wine is an alcoholic drink almost always made with red wine, though cider and non-alcoholic versions exist.

“Mulled wine is usually made with either a fruity red wine or port, as these give the mulled wine a sweeter, more enjoyable flavour. 

“The good news is that there’s no need to spend a lot of money, cheaper wine is often the best option. 

“When you heat the wine, some of the flavour compounds are destroyed (which is why it’s recommended that wine is stored out of the heat and direct sunlight). 

“The mulling spices used are also very strong, so they can drown out the subtler flavours of the wine.” 

He added: “This is why it’s always best to find a cheaper wine, one without all the subtle flavours and aromas. 

“You want a simple wine with bold flavours that will complement the mulled wine spices and one that isn’t too pricey. 

“You also want something that is smooth, without too many tannins as tannins turn bitter during the heating process.” 

How to make mulled wine: 


One bottle of red wine
One orange
Two cups of water
Half a cup of sugar
Ground cloves


1. open the bottle of wine and pour it into a pan. Place the pan on medium heat. Pour the water into the mixture, and let it begin to heat.

2. Add in the sugar once you see the heat rising from the wine, and stir well to let it absorb into the wine. Grate a bit of the zest from the orange, and add it to the mixture. Slice the orange into thin pieces (like you would see for a garnish), and add them into the pot with two teaspoons of ground cinnamon (or a couple of cinnamon sticks) and one teaspoon of cloves (either ground or whole).

3. Let the mixture heat for 10 to 15 minutes, but don’t let it boil. Let the wine sit for half an hour, covered with a lid to keep the heat trapped inside. Once 30 minutes have passed, return the wine to the stove and reheat. When it reaches your preferred temperature, serve and enjoy!

How to make mulled wine in a slow cooker: 

Neil explained: “A slow cooker won’t boil the wine, but will slowly heat it. During the heating process, the wine is absorbing the flavours of the sugar, the oranges, and all the spices. 

“By the time you’re ready to drink the wine, it has more flavour than you get from mulled wine made on the stove. The only downside is the cooking time: up to two hours.” 


One bottle of red wine
Quarter of a cup of brandy
Half a cup of water
Half a cup of sugar
Two to three cinnamon sticks
Eight  whole cloves
Two star anise
Eight Clementines

Note: you can also add spices like allspice or cardamom. Like above, you can use ground spices, but best to keep them in a muslin sachet to avoid having a gritty mulled wine.


1. Mix the wine, water, brandy, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add in the cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise. Cut the clementines into small pieces and add.

2. Turn the slow cooker onto medium heat, and cover. Let the cooker do its thing, bringing the wine to a gentle simmer. Turn the dial down to low heat, and keep it cooking for a few more minutes. Once you see it beginning to simmer, turn it to the ‘Keep Warm’ setting. You’ll need to let it sit for about half an hour before you serve.

Not a fan of red wine? Neil recommends trying white mulled wine. He said: “The lighter, brighter flavours of white wine pair beautifully with lemon, rosemary, thyme, vanilla, and lighter spices. You can even make it with cider, as well as apple and pear juice for alcohol-free versions of mulled wine.” 

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