Slow cooker mulled wine, or spiced wine, is a traditional holiday alcoholic beverage. Served warm, mulled wine is filled with seasonal spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cloves.
Looking for a cozy holiday beverage? Mulled wine makes the perfect holiday treat because it's filled with all your favorite holiday flavors.
Red wine is infused with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, as well as citrus flavor from fresh orange slices. Triple sec or brandy is added for an extra kick of flavor. It's perfect for holiday parties!
Serve slow cooker mulled wine for Thanksgiving or Christmas - it makes the perfect warm adult beverage! For a kid friendly version, try my recipe for slow cooker mulled apple cider.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Wine - Any dry red wine works well for mulled wine. I used an inexpensive cabernet sauvignon.
- Apple juice - Adds a hint of apple flavor and a bit of sweetness to the mulled wine. Can be substituted with apple cider or orange juice.
- Triple sec - Adds orange flavor. Can be substituted with brandy.
- Sweetener - Maple syrup can be substituted with granulated sugar or brown sugar if needed.
- Spices - Cinnamon, star anise, and cloves add a warming, spiced flavor to your mulled wine.
Best wine to use
Want to know the best part about making mulled wine? You don't need a fancy or expensive bottle to make a great tasting batch.
For this recipe, I suggest picking out a fairly cheap bottle of dry red wine, like a cabernet sauvignon.
Normally, for a recipe that includes wine (like a sangria), I suggest choosing a mid-grade wine that tastes good to you and you'd enjoy on its own.
However, the spices, citrus, and maple syrup heavily flavor your wine in this recipe. I wouldn't worry so much about your choice of wine when making a mulled wine.
You can make all sorts of variations to mulled wine. I like to add apple juice to mine for a hint of apple flavor. You could also try apple cider or orange juice.
Instead of triple sec, you can also use brandy or fireball whisky.
Don't want to mess with fishing spices out from your mulled wine? Try wrapping your spices in cheesecloth. A single bundle of spices is easier to pull out just before serving.
Frequently asked questions
No. We're using the low heat setting for one hour, which is just long enough to warm the mulled wine. Unless you're bringing your mulled wine to a rolling boil on the stovetop for a significant amount of time, the alcohol will not cook out. A study was done by Idaho State University where they concluded that alcohol does not cook off as quickly as we think. Boiling alcohol, uncovered, for 15 minutes straight would still retain 40% of its alcohol content. To cook the alcohol out entirely, it would take about 3 hours. For this recipe, your wine stays covered the entire time and never comes to a boil.
Cooking your mulled wine for too long, or cooking it to a hotter temperature, can bring out a bitter flavor. I don't recommend warming it for longer than one hour on the low setting. After that, turn your slow cooker off or to a 'warm' setting.
One bottle of wine can be substituted with about 25 ounces of grape juice, cranberry juice, or pomegranate juice. Or, try my recipe for mulled apple cider.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
- 750 ml bottle of red wine, like cabernet sauvignon
- 8 ounces apple juice
- 2 ounces triple sec, or brandy
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover, set to low, and warm for 1 hour.
- Ladle into mugs and serve warm. Optionally, garnish mugs with orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
- To make on the stove top - add all ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until warm. Make sure not to boil, this can add a bitter taste and will begin to boil the alcohol off.
- Leftover mulled wine - strain the spices and orange slices, then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Apple juice can be substituted with apple cider or orange juice.
- Maple syrup can be substituted with granulated sugar, brown sugar, or honey.