Nothing beats a mug of mulled wine to keep you toasty when the days grow shorter and the temperature drops.
It is one of the signals that the holiday season has begun when you begin craving mulled wine!
Around the world, this warm spiced red wine is known by a variety of names and recipes, but no matter what we call it, we are infatuated with it on a cold, dark December evening.
What To Serve With Mulled Wine: A Guide
Mulled wine has the advantage of being delicious when consumed on its own, but it pairs well with mince pies, sweet and savory fondues, Swedish food, cheeses, and charcuterie boards.
Whether you’re reading a nice book in front of the fireplace, watching television, or playing games with your family, mulled wine is a comforting drink that can be enjoyed for its own sake.
However, if you need to know what to serve with mulled wine for a gathering, we have several favorites that pair nicely with this festive spiced beverage.
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If you enjoy the traditional British form of mulled wine (or cider), mixing it with mince pies is the ultimate holiday combination.
You can make your own delectable mince pies, or buy them from specialty stores around the holidays. Regardless, mulled wine and mince pies are quintessential Christmas.
Fondue is the perfect supper to serve alongside mulled wine when enjoying relaxing times with friends and family.
Classic fondue recipes can range from traditional cheese fondue to fruit dips and melted chocolate. Gather several fondue pots to create a fondue charcuterie with mulled wine.
Swedish Pickled Fish
When making glogg (the Swedish form of mulled wine), classic Swedish delicacies such as crackers and pickled fish combine well with the mulled wine.
We like our glogg with Welsh rarebit. It isn’t Swedish, but add some anchovies or anchovy paste and it’s darn close.
Try providing saltier cheeses as an alternative to sweet mulled wine if you’re looking for a few different varieties to combine with it.
You’ll enjoy matching blue cheese with powerfully spiced wines (those with cinnamon and clove flavors).
Mulled wine with Wensleydale, Roquefort, or Comté cheese will be a hit with the whole family!
If you’re leaning toward serving your mulled wine with cheese, consider adding sliced meat, vegetables, and fruits to make a lovely charcuterie board?
This type of meal is filling, extremely casual, and perfect for gathering with friends and family to enjoy bites of food with steaming mulled wine.
What’s The Best Way To Serve Mulled Wine?
You may be wondering how to prepare mulled wine properly. Here is some guidance to get you started.
Serve Mulled Wine in a Mug
The majority of mulled wine is poured into a mug.
Porcelain or ceramic or mugs will help to insulate your hands from the temperature of the spiced wine, and the mug grip will make it much simpler to drink from.
Mulled wine can also be served in mugs made of glass, or glass mugs encased in a silver base, called mulled wine cups.
The best mulled wine cups usually have a wider brim, which makes it easier to drink the wine without getting a mouthful of garnishes (cinnamon sticks, orange slices, etc.).
How To Avoid Gritty Mulled Wine
Mulled wine recipes frequently ask for the addition of ground spices, but using powdered spices might result in a gritty or grainy wine when mixed with the wine.
If possible, toast the spices whole and then incorporate them into the mulled wine before heating.
Once the spices are infused into the wine, strain them out and enjoy a smooth wine that you can drink to the last drop.
Lightly toasting the spices rather than processing them will develop the essential oils, resulting in more delicate flavors.
How To Garnish Your Mulled Wine
It’s possible to serve mulled wine without a garnish, but what a missed opportunity!
To spice up your mulled wine, try some of these creative garnishes:
- Add a cinnamon stick to each mug
- Place an orange slice on the rim of each mug
- Use whole spices to season the mixture (like star anise)
- Add cherries or cranberries to each cup
The garnish is largely for aesthetics, but it’s all part of the fun of drinking mulled wine!
What Are the Best Wines for Mulling?
When it comes to picking a wine for mulled wine, the number one criterion is that the younger the wine, the better it will be.
When it comes to red wine for mulling, the best choice for a spicy flavor is a dry red wine with a high alcohol percentage, a lot of black fruit flavor, and a high tannin content.
Sweeter wines can also be mulled with a wonderful result, but stick with semi-sweet at most because sweet wines become too overpowering in mulled wine recipes.
Most recipes include a little sweetener, so if you’re using a sweeter wine, then sweeten slowly and taste as you go so it doesn’t get too sweet.
They hold up well to the spices that enhance the wine’s flavor.
There isn’t a need to splurge on an especially nice bottle of wine for mulling, because the flavor profiles will change significantly anyway.
How Do I Keep Mulled Wine Piping Hot?
Mulled wine is a simple drink to make, however, it does take some time to do so well.
Making a large amount at once and simply keeping it warm all across the evening is convenient.
However, when serving mulled wine to a large group of people, it is easy to get caught up in the festivities and overlook the mulled wine.
For an endless supply of warm mulled wine throughout the evening, you have 3 options:
- Use the slow cooker to keep the mulled wine warm (up to 3 hours on a low setting). Simply set it to low or warm and it will maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the night.
- Pour it into a thermos. With a large enough thermos, you can enjoy the mulled wine all night long, wherever you go.
- Reheat it on the stove. If you’ve made your mulled wine in a saucepan, you can always put the saucepan back on the stove to reheat the wine. Don’t let it boil or the flavors will change. Reheating will dissipate some of the alcohol punch, yet retain the rich, spicy flavors.
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A glass of mulled wine is a welcome addition to a holiday party or movie night and is sure to warm you to your toes.
For those who prefer prepared mulled wine, it can be purchased from most supermarkets and is usually very sweet and (almost) alcohol-free.
For the most authentic mulled wine, there is no substitute for homemade, and it’s so quick and easy to do.