Hot Spiced Wine

James Beard

Author and Educator

Hot spiced wine, also known as “mulled wine,” goes by many names: glögg in Swedish, glühwein in German, vin chaud in French, and so on, and varies slightly from country to country. It is simply red wine heated with sugar and spices, and often lemon or orange rind, originally a process used to reconstitute wine that had gone bad. These days, cold-weather celebrations and holidays call for a huge punch bowl of hot spiced wine to enliven the festivities.


  • 4 oranges
  • Cloves
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup cognac, brandy, or bourbon
  • 3 1/2 bottles red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Stick whole cloves into oranges, making a pattern if you like. Bake the oranges for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are heated through and the cloves begin to show a little white dust, which looks very attractive.

Place oranges in a large heatproof bowl of silver or ceramic with the lemon rind and bay leaves. Heat cognac and pour it over the oranges, set it alight, and let it burn down. While it is burning, pour over the oranges about 3 bottles of good dry red wine, such as a California Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon, heated until very hot, but not boiling. Add the sugar and stir it in well. (The amount of sugar is up to you; you can sweeten to taste. I like a minimum or none at all, if the wine is good.)

Stir well and serve warm in mugs or glasses with a little twist of orange peel.


Approximately 1 gallon