Mulled wine is a holiday drink that doesn’t suffer all that much when you leave out the wine. I know, I know... it’s not mulled wine when you don’t add the wine, and I truly look forward to having this explained to me in the comments. And please, I beg you to get every single iota of your kvetching out in the comments, because sober people (like myself) deserve to have festive fun, too, and don’t need anyone killing our holiday spirit with semantics.
Though I developed this recipe in service of my aversion to alcohol, you don’t need to be sober to appreciate its deliciousness. Because it’s made in large batches, mulled wine is fantastic for holiday entertaining, and my mulled “wine” can be appreciated by everyone, like designated drivers, children, and people who want to be able to drink a gallon of the stuff without challenging their racist uncle to a street fight.
I (obviously) love this recipes as-is, but I must stress that mulled wine is a matter of personal taste, so feel free to tinker with it as needed to make yourself happy. Not fan of ginger? Leave it out. Can’t find star anise? Swap it for more cinnamon, or another warm spice you have on hand, like nutmeg or allspice. Supermarket’s out of frozen cherries? Try whatever frozen berries they have in stock. Go light on the sugar to start; you can add more later once all the other flavors meld.
Make it your own, and make it for everybody. Once people taste it, no one will be complaining about the fact it isn’t technically wine.
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- 1 (12-oz.) bag frozen cherries
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags steeped in 1½ cups boiling water
- 1 cup brown sugar, plus more to taste
- 8 whole cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 pods star anise
- 3/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 large or 2 medium oranges, sliced
Put all the ingredients into a large pot and cover, cracking the lid slightly to allow steam to escape. Cook over high heat until it comes to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for at least 30 minutes. (You can leave it up to an hour if you have the time.)
Ladle a little bit of mulled wine into a mug, let cool, and give it a taste. If you’d like it to be sweeter, add more brown sugar to taste. Strain out the spices and serve the mulled wine immediately.
This recipe can also be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot; simply follow the directions above, cooking on the “low” setting for at least one hour before tasting.