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This Cranberry Mulled Wine recipe is quick and easy to make, so festive and flavorful, and perfect for holiday entertaining!
Looking for a fun and festive cocktail to serve this holiday season?
This cranberry mulled wine recipe is here for you, friends! ♡
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you already know that I’m a huge fan of serving mulled wine for holiday gatherings, since (1) it only requires a few minutes of prep and can serve so many people (2) guests always love being greeted at the door with a steaming mug to warm up their cold fingers (3) mulled wine is guaranteed to make your home smell a-ma-zing, and (4) it’s simply so delicious this time of year! That said though, after having made my classic mulled wine recipe for so many years, I have been experimenting this year with a few fun variations. And I have to say, this cranberry mulled wine is my new fave!
It’s made with all of the usual suspects — a bottle of red (or white) wine, a splash of brandy (optional, but highly recommended), citrus slices, plus a few simple warming spices. But for this cranberry version, I’ve also added in a cup of cranberry juice and a knob of fresh ginger, whose flavors pair beautifully with the mulling spices. And instead of sweetening my mulled wine with my usual brown sugar or maple syrup, I’ve taken a tip from a reader and have been using molasses as a sweetener, which is downright delicious. (Although as always, please feel free to use any kind of sweetener that you prefer.) Finally, I’ve been adding fresh cranberries and rosemary as a festive extra garnish this year, which are cute as well as delicious.
And well — as Chandler would say — could this mulled wine be any more festive?!
Let’s make some!
Cranberry Mulled Wine Ingredients:
To make this cranberry mulled wine recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Dry red or white wine: No need to splurge on a pricey bottle — a basic bottle of dry red or white wine will do. (Or if you’re making a big batch, this is a great recipe to break out the boxed wine too!)
- Cranberry juice: I used good-quality pure cranberry juice, which is significantly more tart than some the usual cranberry juice cocktail. That said, though, any type of cranberry juice will work — I would just recommend adding less sweetener if you are not using pure cranberry juice.
- Brandy: Similar to sangria, it’s traditional to spike mulled wine with an extra bit of liqueur, if you’d like. I like a bit of brandy in this recipe, especially to give it an extra kick after adding in the cranberry juice.
- Fresh oranges: One of which we will mull with the wine, plus an extra orange or two to slice as your garnish.
- Mulling spices: I like to use a combination of 8 whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
- Ginger: I also simmered a 2-inch knob of fresh ginger in the mulled wine for flavor. But if you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, you are welcome to add in a teaspoon of ground ginger instead.
- Sweetener: As I mentioned, I’ve been experimenting with using molasses as a mulled wine sweetener this year, and it is delicious. But sugar (white, brown or coconut), maple syrup, honey, or any other sweetener that you might prefer would also work. Add your desired amount, to taste.
- Garnishes: Completely up to you! ♡ I used extra cinnamon sticks, orange slices, fresh cranberries plus little sprigs of rosemary in these cocktails, but go with whatever you have on hand.
Note: The photo above with the fresh cranberries was from my first attempt at making cranberry mulled wine. The fresh cranberries were cute, but in the end, I decided they’re not necessary for the recipe — the cranberry juice will add plenty of cranberry flavor. That said, feel free to use fresh cranberries in your serving cups if you would like!
How To Make Mulled Wine:
To make cranberry mulled wine, simply…
- Combine ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and give them a quick stir.
- Simmer. Heat until the wine just barely reaches a simmer over medium-high heat. (Avoid letting it bubble — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- Strain and season. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove and discard the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and ginger. Give the mulled wine a taste, and stir in extra sweetener if needed.
- Serve. Serve warm, topped with your favorite garnishes.
Full ingredient amounts/instructions listed in the recipe below.
Want to customize this cranberry mulled wine a bit? Feel free to…
- Use a different liqueur: Instead of brandy, feel free to add in some Cointreau, bourbon or cognac.
- Use a chai tea bag: In place of the cloves and star anise, feel free to steep 1 or 2 chai tea bags in the mulled wine (preferably caffeine-free, if you are serving this to a group in the evening).
- Use a different kind of juice: In place of cranberry juice, feel free to make this recipe with red grape juice, cherry juice, or even apple juice.
More Holiday Drink Recipes:
Looking for more festive holiday drink ideas? Here are a few more favorite holiday drink recipes:
This Cranberry Mulled Wine recipe is quick and easy to make, full of great flavor, and perfect for holiday entertaining!
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
- 1 cup cranberry juice
- 1/3 cup brandy (optional)
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
- 2 to 6 tablespoons sweetener (maple syrup, sugar, or honey), to taste
- optional garnishes: orange slices, fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary
- Combine ingredients. Add wine, cranberry juice, brandy, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, ginger and 2 tablespoons sweetener to a large saucepan. Stir briefly to combine.
- Simmer. Cook the mulled wine on medium-high heat until it just barely reaches a simmer. (Avoid letting it bubble — you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours.
- Strain. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove and discard the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and ginger. Give the mulled wine a taste, and stir in extra sweetener if needed.
- Serve. Serve warm in heat-proof mugs, topped with your favorite garnishes.