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Kali Mireva

Mulled Wine: The Recipes and History to Know About

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The majority of adults worldwide drink wine. And they do it often! There are so many different varieties of wine that it’s easy to find new ones to try! When traveling especially, you can dive deeper into the local culture by drinking unique wines from the area. 

If you run a restaurant, you know the importance of curating a great wine list. From sparkling wines to classic reds and whites, all the way to roses - there are a lot of options. You can even add exotic wines to your beverage inventory to make dining at your restaurant an even better experience. 

However, if you are currently adding seasonal offers or building a holiday drinks menu, there is one type of wine you shouldn’t miss. Yes, we are talking about the warm and delicious mulled wine! It’s a beverage that deserves special attention and that’s why we want to dive deep into its history.

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The History of Mulled Wine

Very few people know where mulled wine came from and how it became so popular. But mulled wine actually originated in the 2nd century. Romans were the people who created it by heating wine. They used this beverage to keep their bodies warm in the cold winter and battle colds. 

The Romans conquered most of Europe in the next century and they spread their love for mulled wine through the continent. They believed this wine promotes health and helps people avoid sickness. They even used flowers and herbs to sweeten the beverage and make it more appealing.

Over time, the obsession with mulled wine faded away in most areas of Europe. In Sweden, however, the popularity of this beverage only grew. The Swedish monarchy made two variations of mulled wine famous over the coming centuries. These were: 

  • Claret, made from Rhen wine. It included also sugar and honey, as well as spices. 
  • Lutendrank, which was a blend of wine and milk, and some spices. 
Key Takeaway: Mulled wine has a very long history because it originated in the Roman Empire. There are many different ways to make it but the result will always be a warm, delicious drink, with outstanding aromas that deserve a place on your winter beverage menu.

Mulled Wine Became a Christmas Drink

Over time, different variations of mulled wine were developed. Recipe books started using the name “glögg.” This was first mentioned in 1609 and in the following books, “cognacs-glögg” became popular. 

The big turning point for mulled wine came in the 1890s. This is when glögg got associated with the Christmas holidays. Wine merchants started sharing their own unique recipes. Later, the bottles started being distributed in the rest of Europe and put a festive twist to the long-forgotten mulled wine. 

Becoming a Global Phenomenon

During the next several decades, mulled wine became an absolute phenomenon worldwide. Countries all over the world started creating their own unique recipes (see also: holiday beverage recipes). Nowadays, the variations include red and white wines, as well as sangria blends. They even include vermouth and port wine. The method of each country differs from the rest in general. 

Even in current times, mulled wine continues to be one of the most loved Christmas drinks along with eggnog and spiked cider. But unlike the latter two, mulled wine has a lot more recipes to try. 

Mulled Wine Recipes from Around the Globe   

As a business owner, you need to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Even if there is a local recipe for mulled wine that everyone is using, don’t be afraid to be different. Get inspired by the recipes people use around the globe!

German Glühwein

To make this German version of mulled wine, you need: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • star anise

Nordic Gløgg

The Nordic version of mulled wine has an extra kick thanks to the brandy. Here’s what you need for this recipe: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • ½ bottle of brandy
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • whole cloves
  • ½ cup raisins
  • cardamom seeds
  • cinnamon sticks
  • orange zest

French Vin Chaud

The French alternative has a touch of elegance brought by Cognac. The recipe is simple, but still delicious like the rest. To make French Vin Chaud, you need: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1/2 cup of Cognac
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • sliced orange 

Spanish Vino Caliente

This a spicy and fruity beverage that will warm your heart. It’s made with: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1/4 cup Brandy de Jerez
  • 4 strips of lemon peel
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A sliced clementine
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
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Portuguese Vinho Quente

The Portuguese Vihno Quente features two of the most popular wines in Portugal. These are port wine and Madeira. With these wines, you will make an incredible mulled wine. Here’s how: 

  • ½ bottle ruby port
  • ½ bottle Madeira
  • 1 thin sliced orange
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves

British Mulled Wine

The British Mulled wine is also popular as Smoking Bishop. This name came from the famous book of Charles Dickens - “A Christmas Carol.” For it you need: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 clementine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • whole cloves
  • cinnamon sticks
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla pod
  • star anise

Italian Vin Brulé

If you want to try the Italian version, you will need: 

  • 1 bottle of Italian red wine
  • apple brandy (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • star anise
  • cloves
  • sticks cinnamon
  • nutmeg

Quebecois Mulled Wine

To make the Canadian winter more bearable, the locals in Quebec came up with a delicious recipe for mulled wine. For it, you will need: 

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1¼ ounces Maple Whiskey Liqueur
  • 2 ounces maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Mulled White Wine

Although mulled wine is typically associated with a dark red color, you can make it with white wine, too. And it’s also delicious! Use a dry white wine for the purpose. You also need the following ingredients: 

  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider (or hard cider)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup whole cranberries
  • cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • cardamom pods
  • anise cloves
  • A sliced orange
  • A sliced apple
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Experiment with the different recipes for mulled wine to find the one you like best. You can even offer a few different options to your customers if you find that to be appropriate for the type of your business. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mulled Wine

Do you want to learn more about this delicious beverage? If so, read the answers to the questions we see that people commonly ask. 

How Is Mulled Wine Served?

Mulled wine is typically served warm. It can be served in mugs or heat-resistant glasses. It’s often garnished with a slice of orange or a cinnamon stick. Some variations may include a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, too. 

Can I Use White Wine for Mulled Wine?

While red wine is the traditional choice for mulled wine, you can use white wine. White mulled wine is made with similar spices and fruits but uses white wine as the base.

Is Mulled Wine Only Consumed During the Winter Season?

Mulled wine is most popular during the colder months and especially around the winter holidays. However, some people enjoy it year-round, and there are variations of mulled wine recipes suited for different seasons.

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