How To Make Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine And Mulled Cider (With Extra Holiday Drinks)

Nothing says ‘the holidays are coming’ like mulled wine or cider!

Spicy, Christmassy, and full of comforting flavors, mulled wine or cider is a must-have for the festive season.

And if there is one person who knows how to make the perfect batch to get the party swinging, it’s Ina Garten.

She has perfected her recipes for these warming drinks, and now you can make them in the comfort of your own home.

ina garten mulled wine

If you want to learn how to make Ina Garten’s mulled wine or mulled cider (as well as a couple of holiday extras), stick with us.

We’ve also included some top tips and serving suggestions to make sure your festivities go off with a bang.

1. Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine

Mulled wine warms the heart and soul during the cold winter months. It’s the perfect drink to enjoy while you gather with friends and family.

With just a few ingredients, you can recreate Ina’s world-famous mulled wine recipe at home to dazzle your loved ones this holiday season.

It’s sensationally spiced and oh-so-moreish.


  • 1ltr apple cider
  • 1 bottle of red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 60ml honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish


  • Step 1: Take the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves, and star anise and combine them together in a saucepan.
  • Step 2: Turn on the heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Step 3: Finally, pour the mulled wine into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

2. Ina Garten’s Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Apple cider is another holiday favorite, and Ina’s recipe for it is absolutely divine.

Combining ingredients such as fresh apple cider, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, and more, this recipe is another comfort that will really get you into the holiday spirit.

Whip up a batch and watch the satisfaction on your guests’ faces.


  • 4 cups of fresh apple cider
  • 3 whole dried cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 or 7 (2 to 3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 crisp red apple
  • Good quality bourbon (optional)


Step 1: In a medium saucepan, combine apple cider with peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, and a large orange peel (1 × 4 inches, obtained with a vegetable peeler).
Step 2: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes. After simmering, strain the cider into a 4-cup glass measuring cup, removing and discarding all the solids.
Step 3: Pour the strained, hot cider into mugs or heatproof glasses. If desired, enhance each serving with 2 tablespoons of bourbon.
Step 4: For a fruity touch, add a slice of orange and a slice of apple to each mug. For a final festive touch, include a cinnamon stick in each glass. This is perfect for stirring and adding a bit more spice as the cider is enjoyed. Serve the cider hot for a cozy and warming drink.

Our Top Tips For Making Your Own Mulled

Mulled wine is a simple recipe to follow, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be armed with a few tricks to make it even better.

Use The Right Kind Of Wine

There are many different wines, and if you have never made mulled wine before, knowing which kind to use to make it can be a bit overwhelming.

The best kinds of wine to use include Grenache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, fruit-forward Pinot Noir and anything similar.

When you use these specific types of wine, the recipe is hard to mess up. Any wine that tastes bright and fresh is the perfect choice for mulled wine.

Simmer, Don’t Boil

When making mulled wine, the important thing to remember is that you don’t want to let it boil for longer than necessary.

The trick is to cook the mulled wine on medium-high heat until it barely reaches a simmer. Do not let the mixture boil. Letting it bubble and boil will run the risk of burning the alcohol off, which will ruin the taste of your mulled wine and, in lots of cases, make it bitter.

When simmering, do not let it simmer for longer than 15 minutes. Taste it as you go to be extra sure.

Use The Right Flavorings

You might be tempted to experiment with different flavors, but we recommend sticking to tradition in this scenario.

Mulled wine has the perfect blend of aromatic spices, so you want to use things like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, and vanilla to make the flavor perfect.

If you want your mulled wine recipe to be a little sweeter, you can use orange rounds and apricots as a natural sweetener. Avoid using sugar because this will take away from the natural taste.

Our Top Tips For Making Mulled Cider

If you’re making a batch of cider instead, follow the tips we’ve outlined below to ensure it’s warmed to perfection.

Choose the Right Base

The quality of apple cider significantly impacts the final taste of your mulled cider.

Opt for fresh, high-quality apple cider that’s rich in flavor. Real apple cider offers a depth of taste that store-bought apple juice can’t match, making it the ideal base for mulled cider.

The choice between non-alcoholic apple cider and hard cider depends on personal preference and the desired end product.

Heat Gently

Just as with mulled wine, the key to perfect mulled cider is gentle heating. Avoid boiling the cider to maintain its delicate flavors and prevent any alcohol from evaporating if you’re using hard cider.

Warm the cider slowly over low heat, allowing the spices and fruit to infuse their flavors without risking the integrity of the drink.

Selecting Spices And Sweeteners

The spices for mulled cider are similar to those used in mulled wine, with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg being particularly popular. Adding fruit slices, such as oranges or apples, can enhance the cider’s natural sweetness and add complexity.

For sweetening, consider the cider’s natural sugar content first; if additional sweetness is desired, options like brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey can complement the cider’s flavors without overwhelming them.

Serving Suggestions For Mulled Wine And Mulled Cider

Mulled wine and mulled cider can be enjoyed on their own, but they pair well with a variety of other holiday treats. We’ve included some inspiration below – they’re perfect accompaniments for this festive drink if you’re hosting a party.


A cheese board is an excellent accompaniment to both mulled wine and mulled cider. The sweet and spicy notes of these beverages complement the saltiness of various cheeses.

For mulled wine, opt for saltier, robust cheeses such as Stilton, Gorgonzola, aged Cheddar, or Gruyère.

Mulled cider pairs wonderfully with these as well but also goes nicely with slightly sweeter or creamier cheeses, which harmonize with its fruity undertones.

Mince Pies

A classic British treat, mince pies, filled with a rich mix of mincemeat (fruit, spices, and suet), are a holiday staple that pairs splendidly with both mulled wine and cider.

The spiced, tart sweetness of the pies complements the depth and warmth of the drinks, creating a cozy holiday experience.

Red Meat

Red meat dishes are a hearty option that stands up to the bold flavors of mulled wine. Consider serving Beef Ragu, Roast Beef, Beef Brisket, or Smoked Prime Rib as part of your meal.

These rich, savory meats contrast nicely with the sweetness and spiciness of mulled wine.

Mulled cider, with its slightly lighter and fruitier profile, pairs well with pork dishes such as a pork roast or glazed ham, offering a delightful balance of flavors.

Seasonal Fruits And Desserts

For a lighter pairing or dessert option, seasonal fruits like pears, apples, and oranges can be served alongside both mulled wine and cider. The fruits’ natural sweetness and acidity balance the spices in the drinks.

Desserts such as apple pies, fruit tarts, or spiced cakes also make excellent companions, enhancing the cozy, festive atmosphere.

Roasted Nuts

An accompaniment of roasted nuts is not only simple but also remarkably effective when paired with both mulled wine and mulled cider.

This versatile snack invites creativity beyond the typical choice of peanuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts are particularly delightful with mulled wine, offering a contrast to its sweet and spicy profile.

These nuts are equally enjoyable with mulled cider, where their saltiness complements the beverage’s fruity sweetness.

Feel free to experiment with other types of nuts to discover your favorite combinations. The rich, toasty flavors of roasted nuts enhance the complex notes of both beverages, making for a quick and delightful snack that’s perfect for holiday enjoyment.

Bonus Holiday Drink Recipes By Ina Garten

If that’s not enough to quench your thirst, we have a few bonus festive drink recipes for you to enjoy below – one of them can be alcohol free, too.

1. Pomegranate Spritzer

Let’s be honest … the holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge in one or two beverages.

If you are looking for something a little different from mulled wine or cider, then we recommend trying this pomegranate spritzer.

You might associate a spritzer with the warmer months, but it can be a refreshing option for Christmas too – and pomegranates are a firm festive favorite.

This recipe is simple yet sophisticated and full of fruity flavor. It is perfect for holiday gatherings and will really get you into the festive spirit.

2. Ina Garten’s Cranberry Martini

This cranberry martini is a striking red color that perfectly matches the Christmas time vibe.

The cranberries give this martini a tart and sharp flavor that the smooth Grey Goose Vodka complements.

This is the perfect festive drink to make if you are hosting a Christmas get-together.

3. Holiday Hot Chocolate

We’ve been very boozy with this article so far, but here’s a non-alcoholic festive alternative.

This holiday hot chocolate is a speciality that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. It won’t disappoint.

Creamy, mouth-watering, and super indulgent, you can have a batch of this hot chocolate ready in just 14 minutes.

This recipe does call for orange-flavored liqueur, but you can leave it out to make it more inclusive for non-alcohol drinkers.

Final Thoughts

The holidays aren’t complete without a delicious, hearty glass of mulled wine or mulled cider, and now you have a selection of foolproof recipes you can make for yourself.

If there’s one person who knows how to make festive drinks shine, it’s Ina Garten. So, try making these recipes at home this Christmas.

Don’t forget to leave a tipple out for Santa!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Cook Mulled Wine For Too Long?

Yes, you can cook mulled wine for too long. If you do end up doing this, you will cook off all the alcohol, and the mulled wine will taste more like non-alcoholic grape juice. This is why it’s important to boil or heat it for too long.

Why Is My Mulled Wine So Bitter?

If you find that your mulled wine tastes too bitter, it’s because it has been boiled for too long. As the alcohol is burned off, this removes a lot of the flavor and leaves the mulled wine tasting bitter.

Does Homemade Mulled Wine Go Bad?

Yes, mulled wine does go bad when it is homemade. It is important to let mulled wine cool before you store it in the refrigerator. Once in the fridge, use within three days. Make sure it is stored in an air-tight container to make sure it lasts longer.

What’s The Difference Between Mulled Wine And Mulled Cider?

The difference between mulled wine and mulled cider is that mulled wine is made with wine and spices, while mulled cider uses apple cider as its base along with similar spices.

How Long Will Mulled Cider Keep?

Mulled cider can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can Mulled Cider Be Reheated?

Yes, mulled cider can be reheated either on the stove over low heat or in a microwave.

How To Make Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine And Mulled Cider (With Extra Holiday Drinks)

Recipe by Barbara HuntCourse: Ina Garten


Prep time


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  • Choose your favorite festive drink recipe
  • Collect your ingredients
  • Prepare your drink
  • Serve and enjoy.
Barbara Hunt


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