Slow Cooker Mulled Wine – Red wine is slowly heated with a collection of mulling spices and apple cider to make a comforting warm, winter cocktail
Christmas may be over, but it’s still pretty cold outside and will be for the next couple of months. Therefore, I have all the excuse I need to enjoy a hot cocktail to keep me a little warmer.
Instead of reaching for hot buttered rum or a hot toddy, my hot drink of choice is Mulled Wine. I first tried it while overseas in Munich and I was a little hesitant at first. Hot wine? Hmmm. But everyone was drinking it so why not? I gave it a try too.
And to my surprise, I loved it! It had the warmth and flavor of a hot cider but with a welcomed kick at the end of each slurp.
I didn’t have it again for a couple years when my good friends brought their own version of it to a Christmas party. It was even better than the version I’d enjoyed before. And because of that, I’ve decided to share a similar version here today!
Check out my Slow-Cooker Mulled Wine!
What is mulled wine?
Mulled wine is a red wine that is cooked with spices (called mulling spices) and fruit, and sometimes finished with a liquor, such as brandy. Think of it as a warm sangria, if you will, except the cocktail is not served with chunks of fruit. Instead, I like to serve my mulled wine with a cinnamon stick.
Mulling spices are a collection of spices that are used to make mulled cider and mulled wine. You can include any spices that you prefer but traditionally, mulling spices include:
All these spicecs are collected in a spice ball or a sheet of cheesecloth and then added to the wine or cider to simmer. As the wine heats up, the spices release their flavor but the spice ball/cheesecloth keeps the spices collected so you can just remove them in one swoop before serving.
How to make mulled wine
I like to slow-cook my mulled wine to give the spices enough time to release their flavor. To do this, I add the wine and spices to a large slow cooker and set to low for about 3 hours. But wait! Don’t forget to add the secret ingredient – apple cider. I used an unfiltered fresh apple cider to help give the wine even more flavor.
Tips & Tricks
- You probably won’t find cinnamon sticks already crushed. But it’s so easy to do it yourself. Simply add the cinnamon sticks to a large washcloth, cover, and then beat the cinnamon sticks with a meat hammer or rolling pin. The wash cloth keeps the cinnamon sticks from flying everywhere when they get shattered.
- For this recipe, it calls for 1 half-gallon of red wine. This is about 2.5 bottles of wine.
- When it comes to the type of red wine, I like to use a blend of red wines for this cider. The sweeter the wine the better so stay clear of the heavy wines like Malbec or zinfandel.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
For the mulling spices*:
- 1 cup crushed cinnamon sticks
- ⅔ cup diced dried orange peel
- ¼ cup whole allspice berries
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves
For the mulled wine:
- 1 half-gallon apple cider
- 1 half-gallon red wine
- ½ cup mulling spices
- Combine all the ingredients for the mulling spices together in a large mason jar or other storage container. Scoop ½ cup of the spices and place in a mesh tea ball or double-lined cheese cloth and then close or tie the ball shut.
- Add wine and apple juice to a large slow cooker and add the tea ball with mulling spices. Turn slow cooker on to low and cook wine for 3 hours. Remove spice ball and discard used spices. Serve immediately or cover wine and keep warm for serving later in the day.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.