A cocktail sage shares his mulled wine recipe


As we know, mulled wine is not the sexiest name in the beverage lexicon. But that shouldn’t overlook the festive power of the stuff. A great recipe can turn a gathering into a real party, and a decent bottle of wine into the basis of a memorable, heartwarming drink you’ll want to make over and over again.

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Let’s start by giving the mulled wine a new and improved name. How about hot spiced wine? Or, as the Germans say, gluhwein? Vino de los feriados? Anything will do. Most importantly, you need to know how to do it, as this product has become an international phenomenon, especially during the cold holiday season. It adds warming layers of spice and citrus and more to fine red wine, dressing it up as a holiday punch, whether you enjoy it hot, in your favorite mug or thermos.

Hannah pemberton

Sage Cocktail Alicia Perry has one of the best mulled wine recipes, one she attributes to her bar manager Keivon Dashtizadeh. In case you don’t know Perry, she is an integral part of the cocktail party program and Polite provisions. She says Dashtizadeh recently came up with a wonderful version of mulled wine for the San Diego bar party menu.

“The great thing about mulled wines is that the recipe can be quite versatile and include various wines, fortified wines, and a range of spices,” says Perry. This, of course, is music to The Manual’s ears as we love to play around with various recipe templates. While you’re blending at home, try plugging in things like port, brandy and sherry or different varietals like malbec or amarone.

“The recipe included below is high in sugar, because we wanted to use it in a wine-based cocktail,” Perry continues (she calls it a mulled wine cordial, which is perhaps the best name yet.). “However, this recipe would be wonderful to use with less sugar to make a traditional mulled wine.”

So start here when it comes to a nice spicy holiday wine but tinker around here and there to taste, especially when it comes to adding sugar. As Perry suggests, you can make things ahead and chill them until ready to serve. If you plan to do this the same day, consider assembling the wine in a slow cooker on the lowest setting. You’ll want to strain before serving, but you can keep all the solids in the stovetop base and just add more liquid if your party requires multiple batches. This is a great way to extend the shelf life of additions like cinnamon and orange zest (but do it according to taste, as those flavors will wear out eventually).

Cordial with mulled wine

mulled wine in a glass sitting on a tray.

The recipe proposed by Perry brings the unique notes of a good Spanish sherry, isolated by the warm spices and black fruits and pepper often offered by a Cab Franc. If you’re in the mood for toppings, add a few more spices and a few citrus chunks, or a proven cinnamon stick.


  • 1 liter of cabernet franc
  • 2 ounces of Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • 1 gram of cloves
  • 1 gram of star anise
  • 2 grams of cardamom pods
  • 5 grams of cinnamon
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 400 grams of cane sugar


  1. Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Simmer 25 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Finely filter the final product and store it in a cooler in a sealed container until ready to use.

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Jean H. Vannatta