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Survive Winter with Mulled Wine

Written by Madeline Puckette

An Ode To Mulled Wine

In Seattle, the winter chills your bones. Frigid rain soaks through socks and sneaks up the leg of every pair of pants. To deal with this misery, Seattleites have a passion for hot beverages.

Mulled Wine (pronounced “mold”) is spiced and served hot, often complemented by mixed-in juices or brandy. It’s guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. If where you live gets even colder, you’ll love the Mulled Wine tradition in your home.

a mug of mulled wine a picture by shereen84
Warm your bones. by shereen84


A Lil’ History on Mulling Wine

Many Northern European countries have a tradition of mulled wine. In fact, the history of mulling wine dates to before the 8th Century BC. Homer’s Odyssey writes about Circe, a lascivious goddess, who drugs Odysseus’ crew with a blend of spices and wine.
Circe Mulling Wine by Gioacchino Assereto Dayton Ohio Art Institute 

Not Classy, But Oh So Good

Mulled wine is not considered a high-class beverage. In England, during the Victorian era, spicing wine improved the flavor of poorly stored wines shipped from France. Europe’s fascination with Oriental spices introduced cloves, cinnamon and cardamon.

What Type of Wine to Use for Mulled Wine

Since mulling wine disguises a lot of the nuances of taste, don’t pick a delicate flavored wine such as pinot noir or gamay. Instead, go for bigger, bolder, full-bodied red wines such as Syrah and Malbec. Keep in mind a red blend will often be a cheaper than a single varietal wine. Some variations of mulled wine, use white wine, for these, an aromatic white wine such as Riesling, Muscat (moscato) and Chenin Blanc are great choices.

Why Mull?
Mulling is a great way to repurpose a nasty wine you regret buying into something delicious.


The Hottest Mulled Wines Out There

There are varying spices and techniques for mulling wine. One of the most simple involves three main spices: orange, cinnamon and star anise. You can make a kid-friendly and non-alcoholic mulled wine with grape and apple juice.

sugarloaf on fire. by Georgp


Highly recommended.
The Germans are pyrotechnic enthusiasts which is the core inspiration behind this visually appealing mulled wine called Feuerzangenbowle. A sugarloaf or sugar cubes are soaked in rum and lit on fire over a vessel of hot German Glühwein. Glühwein includes cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and orange peel mixed in dry red wine. The rum-soaked carmelized sugar drips into the mulled wine and flavors it with smoky sweetness.


You will be lit.
This Nordic country tradition was featured as a consumable in World of Warcraft for their first holiday season back in 2004. Don’t let your WoW character have all the fun; Gløgg is fine for humans too.

Glogg Orc from WoW
How to Make Gløgg
2 cups of red wine
1 cup of brandy
Simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat with 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 cardamon pods, 6 cloves, 2 slices of fresh ginger and squeezed peel of orange. Drink with vigor.

Vin Chaud

Good but expensive.
The French variation of “hot wine” uses lemon and Eau de Vie. This particular version is wonderful, particularly with a white wine.

Madeline Puckette with a cup of Mulled Wine
Drinking mulled wine in Portland, OR

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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