Easy Mulled Wine | Gluhwein Recipe

Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant Pot

On a cold winter evening, there is nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace with a warm cup of tea, except, with a cup of hot Mulled Wine!

I discovered Gluhwein (or mulled wine as call it in the US), when my husband and I used to hang out with his German colleagues in graduate school (#FunTimes).    It is a very traditional drink in the winters in Germany, particularly around Christmas.

For my mulled wine recipe, I use one medium orange with its peel and juice to add a slight citrus and tart flavor, and add whole spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise.  Then, I add a bottle of dry red wine and let it steam and take on the flavors of the syrup. This way the alcohol doesn’t burn off and the wine gets infused with the wonderful flavors of citrus and spices. Many recipes use apple cider, but I feel that changes the flavor too much for my taste.

Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant Pot

Smart Tip: I pierce the cloves into the orange peels, so that its easy to pick them out later.  Instead, you can use a spice cloth/cheese cloth to keep the cloves & star anise together and easily fish them out before serving.

Wine & Sometimes a Shot of Grand Marnier

Mulled wine is best made with the a full bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon, but you can use any good dry red wine that you like.  Save your expensive reserved wines and use a relatively inexpensive wine for mulled wine, since its flavor gets modified completely.   I wouldn’t ever use ‘Cooking Wine’ in this, or any recipe for that matter.   For an extra kick in the end, you can spike it with a shot of dark Rum, whiskey, bourbon, or Grand Marnier.  This is totally optional, but, I personally prefer a small shot of Grand Marnier in my cup.  It boosts the orange flavor and gives this drink a great rich flavor.

Two Important Tips

Important Tip# 1: The key to making Mulled Wine is to not ever boil it.  Alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water so you really have to watch the heat.  For that reason, I use boiling water to dissolve the sugar and infuse the spices in the beginning.   Then let it cool down to a warm temperature before adding the wine.

Important Tip #2: When you switch to the ‘Keep Warm’ mode, fish out the orange peels, star anise and cinnamon. This prevents the wine from getting overpowered by these spices.   Also, sometimes the spices can cause a slight bitter after-taste if left in there too long.

Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant Pot

Do Not Pressure Cook in the Instant Pot

You can make this recipe on the stove-top too. But, you have to watch it like a hawk since you don’t want to over-heat your wine.  I used an Instant Pot in its SAUTE mode to make the Mulled wine, and later switched it to ‘Keep warm’ mode, so that it stays warm for my guests throughout the party.  I do not recommend using pressure cooking for this recipe, since the high temperature will burn off all the alcohol.   I prefer using the Instant Pot for this recipe, simply because I can follow the recipe on the SAUTE setting without having to monitor it continuously.   AND, I can keep it warm without the stove being on, which is avoidable when I’m entertaining guests.

It’s very easy to scale this recipe. Simply double-up the ingredients and follow the instructions. The boiling time for the sugar syrup may go up by a minute or two due to increase in quantity. The rest of the time remains about the same. Feel free to taste in between and adjust the flavors to your taste (Chef’s privileges;-)

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Mulled Wine Gluhwein recipe Instant Pot
Easy Mulled Wine | Gluhwein Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

On a cold night, a warm mulled wine is soul warming.  Based on dry wine with spices and citrus flavors, this is a perfect blend of spice & alcohol.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: Cocktails
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 244 kcal
Author: Spice Cravings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium orange
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 750 ml red wine : 1 bottle of preferably cabernet sauvignon
  • 1.5 oz Rum or Grand Marnier: optional
Instructions
  1. Peel a medium size orange and save the peels. Pierce the cloves into one or more of the orange peels and set aside. Extract the juice from the orange and keep aside. Optionally, you can strain it to avoid any citrus fibers in the drink.
  2. Turn the instant pot on Saute mode on HIGH. Add sugar and water in the Instant Pot. Bring water to a boil. Stir once to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Reduce the Saute setting to LOW on the Instant Pot. Add orange juice, orange peels, cinnamon, star anise, and the orange peels with cloves in it. Simmer for 2 minutes
  4. Add red wine and let it steam, not boil. Takes between 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of the pot. Hit Cancel and Turn on 'Keep warm' mode. This will keep the Mulled wine at a nice warm temperature for the evening.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.

 

Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Mulled Wine | Gluhwein Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 244
% Daily Value*
Sodium 11mg 0%
Potassium 267mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 15g
Vitamin A 0.7%
Vitamin C 10.6%
Calcium 3.3%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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