This heady mulled wine recipe with citrus, fresh apple cider, and warm spices is festive enough for Christmas or other holiday parties, but easy enough to make on any cold winter evening you want to feel cozy. While mulled wine, sometimes called gluhwein or spiced wine, is one way to use up subpar bottles, remember that bad wine is never going to be great, no matter how you use it. Still, you don’t need to splurge on expensive bottles of wine here, and pretty much any decent red wine like a cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, syrah, grenache will do. We recommend a merlot for its softness and fruit-forward flavors. Whatever you choose, use the same varietal, and leave the white wine for another day (may we recommend this sangria once the weather turns warm?).
Apple cider, tart mini apples, and citrus studded with cloves add a fruity touch. Many recipes call for brown sugar or other sweeteners like maple syrup, but you really don’t need them here.
Be sure not to let the mixture boil; the barest of simmers will coax plenty of flavor from the whole spices without cooking off all the alcohol. While it doesn’t require much prep time, this mulled wine recipe can be made two hours ahead of serving. Reheat it gently over medium-low heat on a stovetop and if you want to put it out for guests to serve themselves during a holiday party, keep it in a slow cooker or crockpot set to low and leave a ladle nearby.
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