mulled apple cider and red wine (Glühwein)

January 15, 2021

Nostalgia! The smell of Glühwein simmering on a stove reminds me of the holidays. If your family made you hot apple cider after you shoveled their steps, the smell of this mulled red wine will bring you back. This recipe has everything you want from a hot winter drink – it’s full of warming spices, and sweet but not too sweet. You’ll get an extra burst of warmth from the wine, but of course, you can leave it out if you don’t drink.

I read Paige Bennett’s attempt at three different mulled wine recipes. She preferred the simplest, most affordable recipe – a classic from Ina Garten. If you’ve already got whole spices and a bottle of red wine, you’ll just need apple cider and an orange to make this.

Is this a holiday recipe? Sure, but only if you make it on a holiday.

I’m not big on wine, but I AM big on apple cider, and this is really, really good.


4 cups apple cider (can also use OJ)
1 (750-ml) bottle of cheap Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 star anise
4 oranges, peeled, for garnish
optional: a few black peppercorns, juniper berries, or allspice berries

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat until delicious. Pour into mugs. That’s it!


recipe adapted by friedsig from an Ina Garten recipe


Friends, this is really, really good. My family’s recipe does not call for apple cider, and this hot apple cider / mulled wine hybrid is by far my favorite. Apple cider, oranges, and cab are dirt cheap at Aldi – I paid under $5 for all 3. No use in splurging on fancy wine – much of the flavor comes from the apple cider and spices.

She says it’s ready in 10 minutes, but keep it going longer if you can. The spice flavor will only intensify the longer it simmers.

Honey is totally unnecessary if you’re using sweet apple cider, but go ahead and add some honey, sugar, or sweetener of your choice if you like it sweeter. You can also add more fresh squeezed orange juice.

For more autumnal/winter red wine recipes, check out this currant and clove pan sauce that goes with anything from roasted chicken to veggies, my family recipe for German sweet and sour cabbage, and my all-time favorite thing to do with red wine – sauerbraten!


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