Honey Mulled Wine

ChristmasHolidayWine

Get into the holiday spirit with Honey Mulled Wine! This red wine is sweetened with honey and spiced with cinnamon. It's an easy (and easy to love) winter warmer.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Now this was a happy accident. I don’t know how I ended up with some red wine in a cup with honey in it, but it happened, and I’m so glad it did!

Once I discovered how lovely my red wine tasted with honey, I thought to make a mulled wine with it.

Add the honey, tame the spices

Mulled wines are typically very spicy affairs, with cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange slices, etc. All well and good.

The problem is that all of those spices together can detract from the honey, and it’s the honey taste that goes so well with the wine.

So in this simple mulled wine, we are dialing back the spices a bit. I’m using a cinnamon stick, a few peppercorns, and maybe a single star anise. The idea is to enhance the flavors of the wine and the honey, not compete with them.

Mulled wine ingredients

Start with a robust red wine, like a zinfandel or a pinot noir. Use a wine that you would enjoy drinking on its own. It doesn’t have to be expensive (it shouldn’t be), but it should have good flavor.

Add about 3/4 of a cup of honey, and 3/4 of a cup of water, for every 750 ml bottle of wine. This results in a nicely sweet mulled wine, so if you would like it less sweet, cut the honey back to half a cup.

For spices, add a 3-inch cinnamon stick as well as several whole black peppercorns. From this point you can improvise a bit. I like the taste of star anise, so I may add that to the mix.

Great spices for mulled wine are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Black peppercorns
  • Whole allspice berries
  • Cloves
  • Whole cardamom pods
  • Star Anise
  • Strips of orange zest

People also like to add fruit like orange slices, cranberries, or apple slices. Feel free to add any spices or fruit that you want. Just taste as you go and know that the more you add, the more the mulled wine becomes about the spices and not the simple delicious flavors of honey and wine.

How to Make Mulled Wine

Mulled wine by the glass

If you are unsure about whether or not you’ll like this recipe, just try it with a half glass of wine first, not the whole bottle. Heat the wine with a little honey to see if you like the way those flavors work together.

Try these other warm winter drinks

Updated December 12, 2018 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the recipe.

Honey Mulled Wine Recipe

  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one quart serves 5 to 6

Make sure you use a wine that you like to drink! If it isn't good cold, it's not going to be any better hot.

Ingredients

  • 1 (750ml) bottle of zinfandel, pinot noir, or other full-bodied robust red wine that you enjoy drinking
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, plus extra (optional) for serving
  • 1 star anise (or a couple cardamom pods or allspice berries)
  • Thin peels of lemon zest for garnish

Method

1 Combine the ingredients: Combine the wine, water, honey, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and any other spices you are using in a 2-quart saucepan.

If you are unsure about the sweetness level, start with less honey and add more to taste.

2 Warm over medium-low heat until steamy and lightly simmering.

3 Serve: Strain into glass mugs. Serve with a thin strip of lemon zest and a bit of cinnamon stick.

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Links:

The Wikipedia on Mulled Wine

Hot Mulled Wine from Andrea Meyers

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

10 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Brian

    Great recipe! I made it for our Christmas Eve family get together and it was a huge hit! Merry Christmas!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Elisabeth

    Love this idea, reminds me of Glogg but with out the cloves and cardamon that I don’t really care for.

  3. Sheila

    Nothing says Christmas like mulled wine….I love the “mold wine” comment above that’s hilarious! In Germany, at Christmas time, it comes with currents and walnuts and other goodies in the bottom of your mug.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful drink recipe! Merry Christmas Elise!

  4. Nana Honey

    I think this sounds wonderfully warming. Elise, I have Grains of Paradise available. Would these work in place of the peppercorns, {or maybe be even better}? Also, could I place the lemon zest (how about orange, especially with an orange blossom honey?) in to simmer with the wine, water and honey, or would that make the citrus flavor too strong?

    Thanks again for the recipe – red wine is supposed to have health benefits, and this sounds even better than a straight glass of wine!

    Hi Nana, I made one batch with strips of orange zest simmered with the wine, and it was definitely too much. Overpowered the honey in my opinion. No idea about Grains of Paradise, but if you try it, please let us know how it works out for you. ~Elise

  5. Gina

    I just tried mulled wine for the first time last Sunday. I thought I was being offered “mold wine” but accepted a cup anyway. It was delicious and we all got a good laugh out my thinking it was “mold wine.” Can’t wait to try making it myself with your recipe!

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