March 3rd is National Mulled Wine Day and we are seizing the day to tackle a wine-related challenge. If you’ve ever made mulled wine you probably know it can be tricky to get just right. In our opinion, the best mulled wines still taste like wine – just with warm, wonderful fruit and spice flavors and a smell that will have you wishing for a few more weeks of winter.

Here are our tips for making a mulled wine that won’t make you sorry you used a good bottle of red:

Choose the right wine: Big, bold wines make the best mulled wine. We recommend going with Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon

Less is more when it comes to fruit and spice: Yes, the spices are the point but you would be surprised how quickly “just right” becomes “too much” – add slowly

Take your time and let the wine heat slowly: Steaming is good, boiling is bad. You don’t want it getting syrupy or burning off all the alcohol

Traditional Mulled Wine:


  • 1 orange
  • 1 bottle of Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • Honey – to your taste – no more than 2 TBL
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Cranberries (optional)


  1. Slice the orange into rounds and place into the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven. Squeeze the juice from the ends of the orange over the rounds
  2. Pour the wine, brandy and honey into the pot. Add the cloves, star anise and cinnamon sticks
  3. Warm over medium heat until slightly steaming. Reduce heat to low when bubbles form. Keep an eye on it!
  4. Taste carefully and add additional honey if the mixture is not yet sweet enough. The longer you leave the wine on heat, the spicier it will become. If your initial taste needs more spice, leave it on for an additional five minutes and check again.
  5. Add cranberries (optional)
  6. Remove from heat and cover. You can put it back on low heat if it cools while you are serving. Remember, the longer the wine sits on the spices, the spicier it will become. Remove the cloves, anise and cinnamon if you would like to avoid this outcome.

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