Mulled wine is Christmas in a glass. This easy slow cooker version will keep hot and won’t spoil – however long you leave it.
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
I do love a glass of mulled wine at Christmas – in fact, all the way through the winter – but it sometimes isn’t quite as nice as it could be. It’s an easy recipe to make, as long as you are careful with three things: spice, wine and heat.
Which spices do you need in Mulled Wine?
There’s a temptation to use ready-made spice sachets, but they often don’t do you any favours, especially if they’ve been hanging around since last year (or longer!). If they often contain ground spices they will probably have lost some flavour, and some can be a bit musty. It’s best to use whole spices anyway as you don’t want bits of dust in your drink!
You can use a variety of whole spices: e.g. star anise, mace (which is the outer covering of nutmeg), a piece of dried ginger, whole allspice. If you have these spices, by all means use them.
But as I’m keen to keep the jars in my spice cupboard to a minimum, I prefer to use only the spices that I have and use anyway, and in this recipe, those are whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. Along with a fresh orange, you will have plenty of flavour in your mulled wine.
What sort of wine do you use in Mulled Wine?
The second problem with some mulled wine is that the wine is very cheap and not-so-nice. Heating (and adding brandy, sugar and spice) certainly makes poor wine taste better, but my test is: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it. Having said that, an inexpensive (but not dirt-cheap) supermarket wine is usually adequate.
The best wine will be fairly full-bodied, e.g. Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz – a blend is often a better price.
What else is in Mulled Wine?
Apart from wine and spice, you only need a sweetener – and caster sugar is fine – and some type of spirit or fortified wine. A basic brandy is good enough, or you could use port – whatever you have that you don’t mind using up. I wouldn’t use VSOP – it’s too good for mulling – any more than an expensive wine.
Why use the Slow Cooker for Mulled Wine?
Using a slow cooker, makes the whole process fool-proof and sorts out the third potential pitfall, which is letting the wine boil, and therefore losing flavour and alcohol!
My older slow cooker has lower settings than the one I bought this year. On the old one you can put everything in on LOW and leave it – all day if necessary.
Using a modern slow cooker, you will find that LOW is too high! So an hour on LOW to get the mulled win to the right temperature then swithch to WARM, is what you need to do. If your cooker has a timer, you may need to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still on (hopefully it will beep to tell you). Otherwise, it’s a great way to keep the mulled wine hot, but not boiling.
This is a really simple recipe, using fresh and whole ingredients for a mulled wine that you can drink all winter.
- Slow Cooker – If you’re bewildered by which one to buy see 5 tips for Buying a Slow Cooker.
If you like this…
…Why don’t you try:
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
- 2 bottles red wine
- 125 ml brandy
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 orange
- 12 cloves
- 1-2 sticks cinnamon
- Pour the wine and brandy into the slow cooker
- Add the sugar
- Push the cloves into the orange, distributing them fairly evenly
- Thickly slice the orange (about 6 slices) and add to the slow cooker
- Add the cinnamon stick
- Heat on LOW for about an hour until hot, then turn to WARM
- You may need to reset it if the timer expires
- If you have an older slow cooker the heat settings are lower, so leave it on LOW for as long as you like
- Stir before serving to ensure the sugar has dissolved
- If you need to top up your mulled wine, you can heat the wine and brandy for a few minutes in the microwave (taking care not to let it boil) and add to the slow cooker with sugar