It's hard to beat the cozy factor of mulled wine — it's one of those magical things, like pot roast and chocolate chip cookies, that fills the kitchen with an incredible aroma while also filling you up with sheer comfort.
A pot of mulled wine is the ultimate beverage to serve guests this time of year, when they come in, frigid from the cold, and are searching for a quick way to defrost. While it's quite simple to make, the best mulled wine is simmered for a couple of hours to ensure the goodness of cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel have permeated the wine. That means it's not the kind of quick cocktail you assemble as soon as your friends hit your apartment buzzer. However, you can actually make part or all it ahead of time — here's how.
Make Part of It Ahead of Time
Some mulled wine recipes call for you to make a spiced simple syrup that then gets used to sweeten and flavor the wine as it simmers. The simple syrup can be made up to two weeks ahead of time and stored in the fridge, which means this is a great option if you plan to make mulled wine on more than one occasion over the next couple of weeks. Just bring water and sugar to a boil until the sugar is dissolved, add whole spices, citrus zest, and peels, and simmer until the mixture is fragrant. Let the simple syrup cool at room temperature, then transfer it into an airtight container and tuck it in the fridge.
When you want to make mulled wine, simply pour the syrup into a large saucepan, add the red wine, and simmer the mixture for at least 20 minutes or up to a few hours, if you have time. You can let the mixture infuse in a slow cooker on LOW for an hour then reduce the heat to warm for serving.
Get the recipe: How To Make Simple Syrup for Cocktails
Make All of It Ahead of Time
If you'd like to get even more ahead of things, you can make the mulled wine in full and then chill it until you need it. Just follow the directions for your favorite recipe and let the wine simmer with spices until it's deeply infused. Then let the mulled wine cool at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge — it will keep well there for up to three days. When you're ready to serve the mulled wine, just pour it back into a large saucepan and rewarm over medium-low heat. You can also place the mulled wine in a slow cooker and rewarm it on LOW and then reduce the heat to warm for serving.
Get the recipe: German Glühwein