The perfect fall party drink, a steaming glass of spiced wine

Steamy hot mulled wine has been warming cold hands and whipping up holiday spirit for centuries.  I’ve just been waiting for the temperatures to drop a bit to share this recipe with you — I think you’re going to love this easy, slow cooker method.   When our kids were young I always made spiced cider in the slow cooker for holiday parties.  Everybody would wander in to the kitchen and fill their mugs.  Now that my kids are of legal age, we’re upping the ante, and mulling wine.  Some of my favorite alcoholic drinks are served hot, but most of them are after dinner deals.  I love this because it starts party off.  In fact it’s the perfect way to start almost any fall or winter gathering.  Everybody can fill up their own mug or paper cup and mingle.  Ladle it into thermoses for tailgating and other outdoor events.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

There are so many variations on this drink, but basically it consists of red wine, sweetened just a little bit, and mulled, or steeped, with spices and fruit.  Sometimes it’s ‘enriched’ with a little brandy.   All you really have to do is warm it up, let it hang out for a bit, and serve.  For harvest celebrations, I’d do the spices along with clementines, but for the winter holidays I like to use fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs.  Traditional European recipes call for raisins, so it wouldn’t be out of place to use dried cranberries, too.

A steaming cup of spiced mulled wine

You can serve the wine in paper cups, mugs, or glasses, but because the wine is hot, I like to fit the glasses with knitted cuffs.  I make them out of old socks or the sleeves of thrift store sweaters.   You can use your cozies for all kinds of hot drinks like coffee, tea, Irish coffee type drinks, and cocoas too.  I’m going to post an easy tutorial on how to do it, so stay tuned!

Make your own mulled wine cozy out of old socks!

The crock pot method is perfect for making mulled wine because the low even temperature will insure that the wine doesn’t boil, and you can make it and forget it just before your guests arrive.

Holiday Mulled Wine

This is a recipe that you can feel confident in adjusting to your taste.  Use whatever red wine you like, leave out spices you don’t like, add more of those you do.  You can use honey in place of sugar.  Play with it, taste as you go, and make it your own.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

Yield: serves 8

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine


    Harvest Mulled Wine
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 4 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 5 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a spoon to expose the seeds
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, slit down the center (if you save pods this is a good time to reuse one)
  • a good grating of fresh nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 8 clementines, cut in half (remove any seeds)
  • garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and a star anise
  • Holiday Mulled Wine
  • switch out the clementines for 1/2 cup cranberry juice and 1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries
  • add 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • garnish each glass with a sprig of rosemary and a few cranberries


  1. Put the water and sugar in the crock pot and turn on high. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Juice 4 of the clementines and add to the pot.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat until the wine just gets to a simmer. Then turn the dial to the 'keep warm' setting and let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
  3. You can strain the wine before serving, or not.
  4. For the Holiday version, the process is the same, omit the clementines and use cranberries and rosemary.


You can double the recipe, but the actual whole spices don't have to be doubled.

Your house will smell divine while this mulled wine simmers in your slow cooker!

Ok, so it’s the last day of October, wow did that go by fast.  And we’re turning back our clocks this weekend — you know what that means…let’s get this party started!



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45 Responses to Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

  1. Katie T says:

    Hello, my name is Katie and I work for a magazine in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m working on an online blog post about Warm Winter Beverages and I came across your Holiday Mulled Wine recipe above. I was wondering if I could include the photo in the blog post and link back to your site. Thanks so much!

  2. Natasha says:

    Is there a specific type of wine you suggest using?

  3. Ashleigh Johnston says:

    Hi! I’d like to republish this amazing recipe in my winter newsletter for a non profit lake association. Can I do so with proper credit to the author and the photographer?

    drop me a line at

    I’d love to hear from you,

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  12. Kerry says:

    I love to leave the oranges in and add the cranberries! I love these photos, makes me excited to serve mulled wine for the holidays!

  13. Love those little knitted cuffs! And loving that this is all done in the slow cooker. I wish I had a mug right now to wrap my chilly hands around!

  14. I love the mulled wine, but I’m totally smitten with those cozies!

  15. The slow cooker recipes are coming out, and it is making me wish I didn’t leave mine behind when I moved :( This looks so good!

  16. Dan says:

    Looking forward to trying this for Thanksgiving. If you decide not to post the instructions on how to make the knitted cuffs, I would love for you to send me the instructions! ???? Thanks for the post.

  17. Erica says:

    What a delicious drink for the holidays……and your pictures are AMAZING!

  18. absolutely gorgeous pictures – and I;m sure it is equally as delicous

  19. Your sleeves are adorable! I love mulled wine, it’s probably one of my favourite things about the fall and winter seasons. I’ve never tried to make it in a slow cooker, though. Yum!

  20. I wish I had one of these right now!

  21. I can only imagine how incredible your kitchen must have smelled while making this – love the spices and fresh citrus!

  22. I’m so happy you posted this! The last time I had mulled wine was when I visited Belgium in December 2010. My Nonna also used to make something like this and give it to me when I was sick. I have my husband’s homemade wine to use and can’t wait to try this in the slow cooker!

  23. LOVE this recipe! I made mulled wine once and everybody hated it – I think I used the wrong wine but oh well. I remember in my younger days – snow skiing in Colorado. I would get off the lift at the top and have a nice warm spiced wine before getting the courage to go downhill. Liquid courage – absolutely! Can’t wait to try this – and it makes me want to have company!

    • Sue says:

      The first time I tried it I didn’t like it, I didn’t add the sugar because I don’t like sweet wine, but I think the sugar makes a big difference, and the fruit helps, too.

  24. Sippitysup says:

    I don’t have a slow cooker but I’ve often thought this would be the perfect use for one, and you’ve proven it so. GREG

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