Mulling Spices

published Sep 30, 2021
Mulling Spices Recipe

Inexpensive holiday gift ideas are made easy with a jar of ready-to-go mulling spices.

Prep5 minutes

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Mulling spices on a plate and some in a small drawstring bag next to it.
Credit: Laura Rege

During the cold-weather season, a jar of ready-to-go mulling spices is a culinary gift. In a short amount of time, simmering a bit of the spice mixture in cider or wine creates a festive drink that warms you from the inside out. Bonus: Mulled beverages double as the most fragrant potpourri, releasing the aroma of warming spices into your home. To make a nice seasonal gift, place mulling spices in glass jars or wrap in cute small bags and tie with a bow. Give them to guests at your own parties, hosts and hostesses when you’re the guest, or to friends, family, and coworkers.

Keys to Flavor

  • Start with whole spices, which stay fresh and fragrant longer than pre-ground. They are also easier to contain in a cheesecloth sachet or a bag for easy removal before serving your mulled beverage.
  • Simmer gently, letting the mulling spices slowly steep into the wine or cider. Don’t boil over too high a heat or the drink will become syrupy.
  • For extra flavor, toast the mulling spices in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and light golden, just a few minutes. Then transfer to a plate and cool before storing. 

What Are Mulling Spices Made Of?

Most often made from warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise, peppercorns, and allspice. As a general rule of thumb, any spice that pairs well with sweet flavors would fare well.

Credit: Laura Rege

Mulling Spices Uses

Mulling spices are most often used to flavor red wine or cider. If you love the flavor and have extra on hand, think to yourself: If pumpkin spice can do it, mulling spice can do it too. Grind the mulling spices in a spice (or coffee) grinder, pulsing until finely ground. Then add a bit into waffle or pancake batters, hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, simple syrup for cocktails, or anywhere you’d use pumpkin spice.

Mulling Spices Recipe

Inexpensive holiday gift ideas are made easy with a jar of ready-to-go mulling spices.

Prep time 5 minutes

Nutritional Info


  • 8

    cinnamon sticks

  • 6

    whole star anise

  • 1 tablespoon

    allspice berries

  • 1 tablespoon

    whole cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    green cardamom seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    whole black peppercorns

  • 4

    dried orange slices (about 1 1/2 ounces)

For mulled cider:

  • 8 cups

    apple cider

For mulled wine:

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle

    dry red wine

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar or honey


  1. Place 8 cinnamon sticks, 6 star anise, 1 tablespoon allspice berries, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns to a medium zip top bag. Using a rolling pin or meat mallet, crush the spices until they are broken up but still chunky.

  2. Chop 4 dried orange slices into small pieces and add to the spice mixture. Store in a cool place at room temperature until ready to use.

  3. When ready to use, place 2 tablespoons of the mixture into muslin or cheesecloth tea bags. Alternatively, place 2 tablespoons on a double layer of cheesecloth, gather up into a bundle, and tie closed with kitchen twine.

  4. For mulled cider, add one spice bundle to 8 cups apple cider and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the spice bundle and keep warm.

  5. For mulled wine, add one spice bundle to 1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine with 1/4 cup granulated sugar or honey. Gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove spice bundle and keep warm.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store spice mixture in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.