How To Make Pub Perfect Christmas Mulled Wine

Christmas mulled wine conjures up for me images of snowy scenes, a crackling fire, snow angels, and the smells of cinnamon and oranges.

christmas mulled wine,

It also brings back delicious memories of meeting our Welsh friends on a Sunday afternoon at our favorite local pub, being served big hot mugs of warm, spicy wine, and feeling all cozy and warm. 

Mulled wine has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire in 20 AD. To make it, the Romans would put honey to boil in wine and then add spices (pepper, laurel, saffron) and dates. And, since Caerleon was a Roman fort and where our local and very favorite pub, The Bell Inn, is located, it’s perfect.

The popularity of Christmas mulled wine rose in the 1800s thanks to Charles Dickins’ A Christmas Carol. Victorian England viewed mulled wine as a sophisticated holiday-season drink. It was associated with good health, warmth, and happiness…all the things that remind us of Christmas.

christmas mulled wine


  • Wine: you don’t need an expensive bottle of wine, but it’s better if the wine is red and dry, not sweet. I used Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir because that’s what I had on hand, but you use what you like.
  • Orange liqueur: I love the taste of orange liqueur, but you might prefer brandy, vodka, whisky, bourbon or port, or another kind of liquor…maybe cranberry liqueur?? Here’s a recipe for homemade cranberry liqueur.
  • Fresh oranges: I like to use Navel oranges because I don’t want to deal with seeds, but you can use oranges with seeds if you want. One of the things I learned from Ally at Gimme Some Oven is to peel the oranges before you heat them up and slice them to minimize bitterness.
  • Mulling spices: these can vary based on what your preferences are. It is usually made with cinnamon and some or all of these: allspice, ginger, star anise, black peppercorns, cardamon, vanilla, whole cloves, or nutmeg.
  • Fruit: you can also add berries, lemon, apple raisins, dried fruit, cranberries, or anything else you might like.

This simple recipe evokes all the feelings Ralph and I had of those happy times in our local pub at Christmas.

Cosy Christmas Mulled Wine

Warm mulled wine to make you feel all warm and cosy on Christmas Day.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 750 ml dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1 navel orange peeled, and cut into rounds
  • A knob of ginger cut into matchsticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2-4 Tbsp. sugar, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or your favorite sweetener


  • Put everything into a saucepan and bring right to a simmer on medium-high heat (you don’t want it to full-on boil because the alcohol will vaporize) and then reduce the heat to a soft simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes up to 3 hours on very low. Strain and serve with your favorite garnishes. Alternatively, you can cook it in a slow cooker on low.

What’s your favorite Christmas mulled wine recipe? Let us know via Facebook.

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