If wine is your favorite drink (like it is mine), now’s the time to spice it up and give your cocktail-loving friends a special treat.

Making a wine-based cocktail is simple, easy on the hangovers, and a little classier than say, tequila + Sprite. It can also be a good way to make cheap wine taste a little less like vinegar (pro tip: adding a splash sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon can transform that half empty bottle of wine languishing in the fridge).

During the summer months I am all for a refreshing glass of sangria with seasonal fruit (Prosecco and peaches, anyone?), but now that the weather is cooling down, a warm mulled wine is a very appealing option. It’s traditionally served around Christmas time, but once it is cold enough to wear sweaters, any hot drink is fair game to me. It’s comforting, spiced and boozy—have I convinced you yet?


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4


1 bottle of red wine
1 orange
1/4 cup of honey
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated or ground nutmeg
2 cardamom pods
4 cloves
3 whole allspice
1 shot of apple liquor such as Applejack (optional)

mulled wine

Photo by Anika Schaedle.


1. Combine the spices, honey and red wine in a pot.

2. Slice orange into rounds (with peel) and place in the pot. If you have time, let the flavors seep together for 30 minutes. It will enhance the flavor.

3. Heat pot on low heat until it starts to simmer. Be careful not to let it get too hot, or the alcohol will cook out (and what fun is that?).

4. After ten minutes, turn off the heat and strain the spices and oranges out.

5. Ladle into glasses and add an orange slice for garnish. If you prefer your drink to be a little more boozy, you can add a shot of apple liquor into the glass.

mulled wine

Photo:  Anika Schaedle

Check out these links for a guide to selecting wine and other boozy fall drinks: