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Mulled wine has been a fall tradition for my husband and I several years now. We are not big wine drinkers, but something about this stuff is magic. It’s warm. It’s got fall spices. It’s alcohol. Yes, I’m embracing my inner fall basic bitch… Give it a try. (Next up on the list of basic fall musts will be homemade pumpkin pie and other pumpkin concoctions using the cheese pumpkins we grew in our garden this summer. Stand by.)
This time around, I really wanted to try putting a twist on the mulled wine we usually make by adding in some apple cider. It should go without saying, but this cider mulled wine is a bit sweeter than the typical version. You can always adjust the amount of cider or orange juice to reduce some of the sweetness or opt for a drier wine.
What Is Mulled Wine?
A mulled wine (or spiced wine) is produced by cooking red wine, whole spices such as cinnamon sticks, clove, star anise, and orange zest/juice on the stove until the flavors are melded and all gleeful (from the melding obviously). Many recipes also add sugar or honey, but the cider replaces those here and of course is vegan—yay!
As mulled wine is served hot/warm, it’s clear this stuff is designed for the holidays and colder weather months (sorry Floridians but you can still make it), so make sure to serve up in some fancy ass “cozy” mugs to increase the basic factor.
Other Ideas for Putting a Spin on Mulled Wine
I plan to continue playing with this recipe throughout the fall/winter—because why TF not, it’s not like there’s a ton else to do when it’s frigid outside—and here are some ideas I am thinking to try that you could also use for inspiration.
Mulled Wine Add-in Ideas
- Fresh cranberries
- Maple syrup
- Fresh apple slices
- Flavored brandy (this might be getting crazy, but it’s a thought)
- Raisins (idk if I’ll be trying this, but apparently it’s a thing)
- Different types of red wine (such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Chianti, or Malbec) – Different wines have different levels of sweetness (or dryness) so experimenting with the type and then adjusting any added sweeteners/juice would be interesting.
Cider Mulled Wine
- Pot or saucepan, stirring spoon, strainer
- 3 shots unflavored Brandy
- 1 bottle (750 ml) vegan red wine I used Cabernet Sauvignon, check Barnivore for vegan-friendliness
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 orange zest & juice
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 3 pieces star anise
- 4 pieces whole clove
- 1 piece whole nutmeg not traditional, but I added – optional
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract optional; use the real stuff not the cheap imitation kind which might not be vegan
- Combine all of the ingredients into a large saucepan or pot
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer/gently warm for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to let it get too hot as this will cause too much of the alcohol to evaporate and produce a sweeter/more syrupy liquid. Stir occasionally.
- Strain and serve in a basic "cozy" mug for full authenticity. Garnish with orange slices/zest, apple slices, and/or additional whole spices if you wanna get Instagram-fancy.
- For the leftovers, let cool and store in a mason jar or pitcher in the fridge. (Mine filled a 1 quart jar perfectly.) Reheat on the stove or in the microwave for 30 seconds to enjoy throughout the week.