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Mulled wine recipe – Ask Decanter

How to make your best mulled wine, with some expert advice....

‘I’m not sure there’s an ‘ultimate’ recipe – it’s a question of personal taste,’ said Fiona Beckett in Decanter magazine in 2015, who shares her own recipe for mulled wine below.

‘Remember not to boil the liquid at any point, otherwise you’ll burn off the alcohol and make your mulled wine taste bitter.’

Best wine for mulled wine

‘Make sure you’re not mulling one of the finest bottles in your cellar – which I’m sure you’re not’, said Beckett, who recommends going for a medium bodied red wine. 

‘A drinkable if inexpensive wine for a base – something like an own-label Corbières is ideal.’

Christophe Lechavlier from Borough Wines agrees that a medium bodied wine works well for a lighter mulled wine.

‘You could go for something a bit chunkier – a Syrah for example – which will bulk up the mulled wine’ he told Decanter.com in a video below.

‘You’re going to cook the wine remember, so you don’t want to spend too much, but you do want good quality.’

Other spirits

‘I personally think you need to add something sweet like a good slug of vintage character or late bottled vintage Port, or a dash of Grand Marnier or Cointreau,’ said Beckett.

Lechavlier also suggests a smokey whisky, brandy or rum as additions, but advises that you add a shot after you’ve made the mulled wine.

If using orange juice in your mulled wine recipe, Lechavlier suggests using ideally freshly squeezed, or if from concentrate, mixing it with some water.


‘I also try to keep most of my spices whole, otherwise the mulled wine can taste powdery – so use cinnamon sticks rather than ground cinnamon, for example’ said Beckett. She uses cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, nutmeg and a clove-studded orange in her recipe below.

‘It’s down to imagination,’ said Lechavlier. ‘You could try cinnamon, aniseed, nutmeg – even vanilla.’

If you are going to add sugar to your wine, start with a small amount and you can always add more later, advises Lechavlier.

Fiona Beckett’s mulled wine recipe

To serve 8-10


  • 2 bottles medium-bodied red wine
  • 1 unwaxed orange studded with 6 cloves
  • a few strips of zest from an unwaxed lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100ml orange liqueur
  • a few orange slices


  1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan and add 500ml cold water
  2. Add the orange and lemon zest, spices and sugar and heat gently until almost boiling
  3. Reduce the heat as low as possible – the liquid should barely tremble – and simmer for about 30 minutes so the spices infuse
  4. Add the orange liqueur and orange slices and reheat without boiling
  5. Ladle into small cups or glasses to serve

Video: How to make mulled wine

Video made in 2014. 

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