austrian/ Christmas/ drinks + alcoholic beverages/ New Year's Eve/ Party/ polish/ Valentine's Day

Cranberry Orange Mulled Wine Recipe

15 November 2019

This is my favorite mulled wine recipe. Perfectly spiced, warming and so tasty. Tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a popular holiday treat in many European countries and is being sold at Christmas markets. This is hands down the best mulled wine recipe I have ever tasted. If you’re looking for a warming Fall/Winter drink, this cranberry orange spiced wine might be it.

This drink is very easy to make and always a highlight at any holiday party!

cranberry orange mulled wine in two glasses

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  • It’s super easy to make, you just can’t get such a good mulled wine from a store. All you need to do is warm some aromatic spices with red wine, oranges, and cranberries.
  • I love the addition of oranges and fresh cranberries. They take the spiced wine to another level. They can be omitted, either cranberries or both oranges and cranberries, but please, please add them! I really like the sweet and tart taste of fresh cranberries, I add them to everything now! They’re also very healthy (which means our mulled wine is healthy? ;)).
  • What makes this recipe work is making the orange syrup first. This way you can really extract the flavor from the spices, orange zest, and cranberries. The sugar dissolves easy and quickly and the spices are more aromatic. Some recipes call for warming up wine slowly with spices but I find this is just not enough time and heat to really extract the flavor. You can’t also cook the wine for too long and over hight heat because the alcohol will evaporate. Making this recipe in two steps – first cooking the orange syrup then warming up the syrup with spices, wine, oranges, and cranberries makes this drink perfect!
overhead shot on cranberry orange mulled wine

WHAT DO YOU NEED (INGREDIENTS + SUBSTITUTIONS):

  • Wine – use wine that you like to drink on its own. It doesn’t have to be expensive wine, cheap (but still tasty) wine is enough. Any wine – dry, semi-sweet or sweet will work. If you’ll use sweet wine, you’ll need to add a tablespoon less sugar. Sometimes stronger liquors like brandy are added (I prefer it without brandy). I’ve seen also white wine mulled wine recipes, which also sound interesting (on my to-do list).
  • Spices – this recipe has the best wine to spices ratio. I personally don’t like heavily spiced mulled wine. The taste of the wine should be only complimented by the spices.
  • Sugar – I used light brown sugar because I like its caramel taste but also honey or granulated sugar can be added.
  • Fresh cranberries and oranges – I tested this recipe many times. I made it just with the spices, then with the spices and orange juice + zest, then I made another batch and I added cranberries. The last batch was seriously the best mulled wine that I have ever tested. It’s so delicious. The second best was the one with the oranges added. You can omit the oranges and cranberries, but it just tastes better with them.

WHERE DOES THE MULLED WINE COME FROM?

Mulled wine dates back as far as ancient times. Roman cook Marcus Gavius Apicius wrote down the earliest-known recipe for mulled wine. Instructions were simple: cook wine with honey, mix with black pepper, mastic, bay leaf, saffron, and dates. Later on, mulled wine became popular in many European countries.

Nowadays, it’s extremely popular in Austria and German-speaking countries, where it’s called Glühwein (which can be translated as glowing wine). In Scandinavia, it’s called Glöög/Glog/Gløgg.

In Poland, it’s called “grzane wino” or “grzaniec”. Oranges and honey are a popular addition and also fresh raspberries.

HOW TO MAKE MULLED WINE STEP BY STEP:

These are complete instructions on how to make the best mulled wine. Scroll down for printable recipe card.

STEP 1: We’ll start with making the orange syrup: Peel 1 orange and squeeze out the juice (leave the other 1/2 orange for later). Place the zest on a cutting board, cut off the white pith (more or less) and discard it.

STEP 2: Add the orange juice and zest, 5 tablespoons sugar and spices (1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 3 cardamom pods, and 5 cloves) into a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes.

STEP 3: Add 20 cranberries and cook for 2 more minutes.

STEP 4: Spiced orange syrup is ready – sugar should dissolve, cranberries will slightly burst (when added earlier, they will break down completely), and the syrup will be thickened. Remove the pot from heat and let the syrup stand for 10 minutes until slightly cooled (this is optional, if the syrup is cooler you can warm up the mulled wine for longer time, if you’re in hurry omit cooling the syrup).

STEP 5: Make the mulled wine: Add 1 bottle of red wine (750ml), remaining ½ orange (cut into smaller pieces) and heat gently over minimum heat until the wine is very warm, but not boiling. If you bring the mulled wine to a boil, it will lose some of its aroma and alcohol will start to evaporate (and we don’t want that, right?). You can measure the temperature with a thermometer, it should be maximal 167°F / 75°C. If your mulled wine is not sweet enough, you can sweeten it with more sugar.

STEP 6: Serve: Take the pot off the heat, set aside for 5-10 minutes (optional). Strain the wine into a pitcher (you can discard the spices, oranges, and cranberries). Ladle the drink into heatproof glasses (thin wine glasses can break) and serve. For decoration, you can add spices from the pot, fresh cranberries, and orange pieces. Enjoy!

Storage:

This recipe is perfect to make ahead. Tastes exactly the same. So, if you’re planning a party or have just made too much wine, strain the wine to a pitcher and discard the spices, oranges, and cranberries. Cover the pitcher tightly with plastic foil and store in the fridge. Warm up before serving.

Other recipes that use fresh cranberries that you may like:

Cranberry Orange Mulled Wine Recipe

Mulled wine recipe. With fresh cranberries, orange juice, zest and aromatic spices. Perfectly spiced and warming. Tastes like Christmas in a glass!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 226kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle / 750 ml red wine preferably fruity dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 oranges
  • 20 pieces fresh cranberries
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom capsules
  • 5 cloves

Instructions

  • Make the orange syrup: Peel one orange and squeeze out the juice (leave the other 1/2 orange for later). Place the zest on a cutting board, cut off the white pith (more or less) and discard it. Add the orange juice and zest, sugar and spices into a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, then add the cranberries and cook for 2 more minutes. Sugar should dissolve, cranberries will slightly burst (when added earlier, they will break down completely), and the syrup will be thickened. Remove the pot from heat and let the syrup stand for 10 minutes until slightly cooled (this is optional).
  • Make the mulled wine: Add the wine, remaining ½ orange (cut into smaller pieces) and heat gently over minimum heat until the wine is very warm, but not boiling. If you bring the mulled wine to a boil, it will lose some of its aroma and alcohol will start to evaporate (and we don’t want that, right?). You can measure the temperature with a thermometer, it should be maximal 167°F / 75°C. If your mulled wine is not sweet enough, you can sweeten it with more sugar.
  • Serve: Take the pot off the heat, set aside for 5-10 minutes (optional). Strain the wine into a pitcher (you can discard the spices, oranges, and cranberries). Ladle the drink into heatproof glasses (thin wine glasses can break) and serve. For decoration, you can add spices from the pot, fresh cranberries, and orange pieces.
  • Cheers!

Notes

  • Storage: Strain leftover wine and keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • What wine is best: use wine that you like to drink on its own. I like fruity dry red wine.  It doesn’t have to be expensive wine, cheap (but still tasty) wine is enough. Any wine – dry, semi-sweet or sweet will work. If you’ll use sweet wine, you’ll need to add a tablespoon less sugar.
  • Cranberries can be omitted, but the wine tastes better with them.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal
Course drinks and alcoholic beverages
Cuisine international
Keyword cranberry orange mulled wine, mulled wine recipe, orange mulled wine, spiced red wine

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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