This non-alcoholic mulled wine is a super easy, warming and comforting Christmas mocktail. Perfect for cozy winter nights, holiday gatherings, and festivities. This recipe is suitable for everyone who doesn't or cannot drink alcohol, including kids, pregnant women and drivers.
What is Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine And Why To Make it
It is an alcohol-free version of a traditional winter drink made of (red) wine infused with spices, traditionally served hot in a mag or tall latte glass.
Mulled wine is widely popular across Europe, where you can usually find it at Christmas markets, in bars and restaurants. You will see it being sold under local names - here are some examples: Glühwein (Germany), Gløgg (Scandinavia), Izvar (Moldova, Romania), Svařené víno (Czech Republic), Vin brulé (Italy), Vin chaud (France, Switzerland) etc.
There are several reasons to love and make this quick and easy winter mocktail:
- It is super festive - does anything else say Christmas than the flavours of cinnamon, orange, anise and berries?
- It is easy to scale up or down, ideal for cozy winter evenings, Christmas parties and get-togethers.
- It is alcohol-free, which makes it available for everyone who otherwise chooses not to or cannot drink alcohol.
- It can be drank hot or cold - although every mulled wine (gluhwein) tastes better warmed up, this mocktail can also be consumed cold.
- Homemade is always the best - you have a complete control over what goes into it and can make as much or as little of this non-alcoholic mocktail as needed.
This alcholol-free mulled wine contains only 5 basic ingredients. Here they are:
- Non-alcoholic red wine - alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Shiraz are great for this recipe. They are becoming more and more common in supermarkets these days, with many of them tasting like the real deal. Check the substitutes section for replacements in case you couldn't get one.
- Fresh or dried orange slices - for a boost of flavour and aroma. Wash it before slicing and adding it to the wine. Cut into slices or even quarters, the orange can be eaten after you finish drinking your mocktail.
- Cinnamon stick, star anise, whole cloves - all of these 'mulling spices' lift up and enrich the typical wine taste, making it sweeter and more fruity. Preferably use whole spices when making mulled wine. The taste won't be too sharp and you will be able to easily strain the drink before serving.
- Cardamon pods (optional) - add for extra depth of flavour. Crush them before adding to make the most of their taste.
- Sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional) - add if the drink seems bitter, or not sweet enough. Remember to taste the non alcoholic mulled wine first before adding any sweetener, and add sugar or honey just before serving.
- Frozen berries, lemon zest (optional) - all of these will look great when served, and will add more fruity and zesty notes to this Christmas mocktail.
Substitutes & Variations
You may be wondering if you can swap some of the ingredients in this festive recipe - yes, you totally can!
- Use red grape juice, mix of blackcurrant and cranberry or pomegranate juice or a mix of blackcurrant juice and water instead of alcohol-free red wine.
- If you are missing star anise, add whole anise seed or whole allspice and sugar instead.
- Use ground (powdered) spices instead of whole ones.
- Add slices of fresh lemon or peeled lemon zest instead of fresh orange slices.
Feeling inspired? Create your own version of this traditional Christmas drink by adding:
- a vanilla pod (or vanilla extract/syrup) - to boost a subtly sweet and indulgent flavour,
- cherry syrup - which adds on fruitiness.
The sweetness or acidity of this mulled 'wine' will vary depending on the wine or juice used. Regulate the amount of sugar in this drink by tasting it first and adding sugar, syrup or other sweetener just before serving.
Find all swap ratios in the recipe card notes at the end of this post.
How To Make Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine
This easy festive drink can be made in three simple steps:
- Pour the alcohol free wine into a sauce pan and bring to simmer on medium heat.
- Add the mulling spices and sliced citrus and leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes on low heat, stirring occassionally.
- Strain and serve warm with a fresh or dried orange slice.
For all measurements, please see the recipe card.
Here are handful of tips on how to make this non-alcoholic mulled wine even better:
Use whole spices - they provide rich fragrance and flavours, and are easy to strain. Although powdered (ground) spices are ok to use, they will leave a residue at the bottom of the pan and cups.
For extra rich flavour, leave the hot wine to cool down and rest for at least 30 mins to 1 hour. The seasoning will intensify and become stronger. Reheat on low heat for 10 minutes, strain and serve.
Do not boil mulled wine on high heat, this would burn the spices, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant drink. Take all the time you need when making this recipe - the best things in life usually take time! 😉
Reheat (alcohol-free) glögg only on a stove top (hob) or in a slow-cooker - in both cases slowly and on low heat settings. Do not use microwave as it doesn't heat up liquids evenly - some of it could be burnt, and some of it still cold.
What To Serve With Nonalcoholic Mulled Wine
Now that you made this wonderful spicy and warming mocktail, you can serve it with a starter or a dessert.
Non-acoholic mulled wine pairs especially well with salty and savoury dishes - charcuterie board, meat or cheese plate, pretzels, but also with sweet bakes such as mince pies, apple strudel, walnut cake, gingerbread biscuits or Linzer cookies.
This homemade alcohol-free gluhwein can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure you strain it before storing to prevent it from getting bitter. Reheat it carefully before serving - see the Top Tips section (above) for details.
You can also freeze this mocktail. Once cooked and cooled down to room temperature, place it in an airtight and freezer-friendly food container, and freeze for up to 6 months. Cook from frozen on a low heat on a hob for about 20-30 minutes. Strain and serve with freshly sliced orange.
Yes, you can! Non-alcoholic mulled wine is just as delicious and warming and is suitable for everyone who doesn't drink alcohol, from kids, to pregnant women, drivers etc.
It contains non or low-alcoholic wine, mulling spices (cinnamon, cloves, start anise, sometimes black peppercorns or cardamon), citrus fruit and sugar or sweetener.
Mulled wine is an alcoholic drink that contains natural sugars, alcohol, tannins, sulfates and cinnamon - all of which help preserve it.
Opened and resealed bottle of mulled wine will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
If you made your own, make sure you strain it before storing in the fridge.
Non or low-alcoholic wines are made the same way as real wines - they are processed and aged exactly the same, but the alcohol is then removed from it, leaving the fermented wine without alcohol but with the same wine taste. It means this type of wine is less sugary as a result - comparing to simply squeezed grape juice.
📖 The Recipe
Non-alcoholic Mulled Wine (Gluhwein)
- 750 ml bottle non-alcoholic red wine
- 1 sliced orange or 8 dried orange slices
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 star anise or ½ teaspoon anise seed
- 8 whole cloves or ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 7 crushed cardamon pods
- sugar, honey or sweetener to taste
- frozen berries, lemon zest
- Pour the non-alcoholic red wine into a saucepan, set on medium heat and bring to simmer.
- Add sliced oranges and mulling spices and keep simmering on low heat for about 15 minutes. Do not let it boil.
- Strain and serve hot with a slice of fresh or dried orange.
- Red grape juice (100%, 750 ml), mix of blackcurrant and cranberry or pomegranate juice (500 ml and 250 ml) or a mix of blackcurrant and apple juice (500 ml and 250ml).
- Replace star anise or anise seed with whole allspice (½ tsp) and sugar.
- Sliced fresh lemon or peeled lemon zest instead of fresh orange slices.
- Vanilla - add a vanilla pod (or 1tsp vanilla extract/syrup),
- Cherry - add 1tsp of cherry syrup.