I’m so excited to be able to share with you guys this fun festive mulled wine cocktail. The winter season is the perfect time to share this drink with friends and family at a get together. This cocktail is also sure to impress with just the right balance of sweetness, acidity, and subtle spice flavors.
For this recipe I chose to use a cabernet sauvignon for its savory and deep fruity flavors, but you could also substitute any of your favorite full bodied red wines you might have on hand. I find when it comes to wine it’s always best to try a couple of different brands until you find the one you like the best. Sometimes I’m amazed at the different ranges of flavors that can occur within the same variety of wine. Just with my experience trying different kinds of cabernets I’ve tasted some that are barely sweet, some very sweet, and some that have been completely abrasive. Personally, when it comes to any kind of alcoholic beverage, I tend to favor those with a good balance of acidic and sweet flavors.
Because this recipe uses a sweeter wine and is topped off with ginger ale I knew I would need to balance out the sweetness by adding more acidity. I accomplished this with fresh squeezed orange juice that I ran through a mesh strainer to remove the pulp.
To add an extra punch of citrus flavor I used a vegetable peeler to remove the outside peel of the orange being careful not to remove any of the pith.
I didn’t like the idea of having to strain or pick out the spices I was adding to the wine, so I resolved this by placing the orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheese cloth to create a sachet and then secured it with a small piece of string.
The apple cider, orange juice, spice sachet and one cup of wine can be combined in a sauce pan and brought to a boil, then reduced the heat to let the wine simmer. When the wine is finished simmering, remove it from the heat and add the remaining wine so it can mull in the spices.
Place the mulled wine in the fridge to cool. If you would like a bold spiced flavor to the wine, leave the spice sachet in the mixture while it cools in the fridge. If you want more of a subtle flavor, remove the sachet at this point
Before serving, add the ginger ale and then garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks if desired.
If you are planning to serve this at a party, adding cinnamon sticks and orange slices to the bowl adds a beautiful accent to contrast the rich red color of the mulled wine. This is a lighter alcoholic beverage and is not very boozy so it’s great for a refreshing starter to get the conversation flowing at the beginning of get togethers. If you try this recipe let me know what you think in the comments below. I would love to here your feedback!
- 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 5 cloves
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 bottle cabernet sauvignon
- 1 (12 oz) can ginger ale
- optional: garnish with slices orange and cinnamon sticks
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of orange peel being careful not to remove any of the white part.
- Juice the orange and strain through a sieve to remove any pulp.
- Place orange peel, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and secure with a piece of string.
- Combine apple cider, orange juice, 1 cup of the cabernet sauvignon, and spice sachet in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and add the remaining wine. Let wine mixture mull for 20 minutes.
- Pace mulled wine in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to fully cool. When ready to serve, remove sachet and add one can of ginger ale to the mulled wine.
- Garnish with slices of orange and cinnamon sticks, if desired.
- The longer the sachet is kept in the wine the more intense of a spiced flavor will develop. If you think the wine has enough spice after mulling, remove the sachet before placing in the refrigerator to cool.