How to make Mulled Wine!

Mulled Wine is a regularly made drink in Northern Europe & can be found in many German Christmas markets specifically under the name 'Glühwein'. Adding spices to Wine is for sure not a trend & human beings have been doing this for more than a thousand years. I would argue that Mulled wine is the original 'HOT PUNCH' as it ticks all the boxes of what a Punch is in the cocktail category. So lets dive into the specifics shall we?


Roman Spiced Wine - Conditum Paradoxum The scene above is probably frighteningly familiar to anybody who has had their Christmas work-do recently, and would probably be frighteningly familiar to many ancient Romans at this time of year.  We're currently in the midst of the Roman festival of Saturnalia, a time of gift-giving and continual partying and drinking which ran from 17th - 23rd December in honour of Saturn, the god of time.

Whilst the above fresco does not depict Saturnalia, I've included it here for two reasons - in it we see Bacchus, the god of wine, and we also see a satyr drinking his fill from a bowl.  The Romans clearly loved the stuff, so I think it is high time we had a go at Roman wine for ourselves.  And what better recipe to start with than conditum paradoxum, an ancient spiced wine not dissimilar to mulled wine.

Conditum Paradoxum (Roman Spiced Wine)

750 ml of white wine

1/2 cup Honey

1 tsp Fennel

1 Tsp Peppercorns (crushed)

6 Dates or a small handful of raisins

Add the honey , wine, and dates/raisins to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the spices, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 15–20 minutes, strain and serve.

Mulled wine originated in the 2nd century. It was created by the Romans who would heat wine to defend their bodies against the cold winter. As the Romans conquered much of Europe throughout the next century, their love for mulled wine spread across their empire and the regions they traded with.

As its popularity continued to grow throughout the middle ages, Europeans would mix heated wine with spices because they believed it would promote health and avoid sickness. They would also use herbs and flowers as natural sweeteners to make unpalatable wines taste a lot nicer. We can trace different names all of which can be classified as Mulled-Wine throughout Europe: Known as Bisschopswijn in the Netherlands this amazing drink is named to literally mean the bishop’s win and it is most enjoyed during the Sinterklaas holiday, while its ingredients replace lemons with oranges.

Vin chaud in France is what the “hot wine” is known as and in most cases, it consists of a cheap red wine that is enhanced via cinnamon, lemon and sugar, although the wine must never be too sweet.

Greyano is the heated wine consisting of red wine infused by peppercorn and honey most loved in Bulgaria. The Greyano also includes at times citrus fruits, apples as well as oranges or lemons.

Heated or mulled wine is called svařené víno, which means boiled wine in the Czech Republic. Boiled wine is also popular in Hungary where it is called forralt bor, Hungarians makes boiled wine from a cheap version of Egri Bikaver and then spice it up with cloves and cinnamon.