Winter warmer

hungarian mulled wine

One thing I’ve noticed here is that the length of the days changes dramatically with the seasons. In midsummer it starts getting light at about 4:15 in the morning (don’t ask how I know), while right now it’s well on its way to being dark at 4:15 pm. It’s been a relatively mild slide towards winter this year – first snow last weekend – but all the same, this time of year calls for a little help from the spirits.

When I was growing up, we usually had a pot of spiced cider on the stove on chilly December days, simmering away and filling the house with a sweet aroma that always fills me with holiday anticipation. Valerian’s family adheres to the mulled wine tradition that is carried on at Christmas fairs around Europe. But let me be honest. I don’t really like the taste of wine. And when I learned that the mulled wine recipe includes plenty of added sugar, I realized that we could combine our two family traditions with delicious results, if I do say so myself.

Here is our suggestion for a cold-weather drink, ready for you to customize and make it your own. Let us know what your favorite winter warmer is!

orange peal into hungarian mulled wine

Spiced Wine with Cider

I used an inexpensive red wine here, but in fact it is equally common to see white warmed and spiced here. I do like the color the red wine gives, myself. Look for wines that are sweet rather than dry in any case.


For 4 people

  • 2 cups wine (see note above)
  • 2 cups apple juice or cider
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 5-6 slivers orange or lemon peel


  • Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  • Warm over low heat for 15 minutes; can be kept warm for 1-1.5 hours (although the alcohol will mostly boil off, if it matters to you).


2 Responses

  1. No spiced wine for me this winter 🙁 Fortunately it was a mild winter until now, but now we have snow and it’s exactly the time when on Friday evening you’d like to prepare some spiced wine. Maybe I’ll try the version with only apple juice and spices.

  2. Haven’t had any Glühwein last year. Am very curious about the combination of cider, and wine. Have not tried that before, but it sounds like a great recipe to try this freezing cold winter. BTW, Glühwein often has mace, and sometimes star anise in it. Have you tried that?

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