A Very Merry Mulled Wine Recipe

December 21, 2020

Jenny Bath, Education & Volunteer Coordinator

What would the holidays in Sonoma County be without a little mulled wine? Mulled wine is the perfect holiday beverage to drink on a cold day. Since its first recorded origins in 2nd century Rome, this hot spiced wine has been a consistent winter time favorite, spreading all across Europe and beyond. Though every culture, region, town, and family have their own variant, the basic ingredients of wine, spice, and fruit stay the same.

This particular recipe is from my family and ties its origins to the Veneto region in the north of Italy. It changes a little every time I make it and half the fun is in experimenting with different additives, wine varieties, and spices. There really is no such thing as a bad mulled wine!


• 1 bottle (750ml) red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, etc.). When selecting your wine, go for a darker red, high in tannins and with fruity undertones—go for something drinkable, but affordable. Since you’re adding so much to the wine itself, you don’t want to waste your most expensive bottle.

• 2 tbsp mulling spice blend (preferably one with dried orange, clove, cinnamon, and star anise)

• ½ apple, cut into small cubes (Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.)

• ¼ cup sugar

• Optional spices: cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, peppercorns, orange (slices, halves, or zest), sliced kumquat, almonds, rosemary, berries, allspice, lemon, honey, dried apple slices, etc. (Don’t stress too much about the particulars and use what you have on hand).

1. Gather and prep your ingredients. Spices should be left as whole as possible and placed into a tea strainer or wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal.

2. Combine wine, mulling spice blend, apple, and any additional add-ins in a medium saucepan and heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to boil the wine at any point!

3. Let simmer for 5 minutes, before lowing the heat and adding in your sugar to taste. The amount needed is going to vary greatly depending on the wine and fruit used. 

4. Continue heating for another 5 to 30 minutes depending on desired depth of flavor or serving time. Leaving the spices (such as oranges) in for much longer can cause bitterness.

5. Remove from heat and take out your spices.

6. Ladle into your favorite mug and enjoy! The apples will continue to infuse as you drink and they make for a wonderful snack at the end.

Enjoyed this recipe? Snap a photo and tag us on social media to share your results with us! Cheers and happy holidays!

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(707) 579-1500

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The mission of the Museum of Sonoma County is to engage and inspire our diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant.