WTM Wine 101 | What is Mulled Wine? / by Adnan Saribal

Adnan Saribal works as a wine ambassador alongside a two-Michelin-star chef at a Spanish restaurant in one of Istanbul's most prestigious five-star hotels. He also enthusiastically shares his knowledge of wine on social media through his Wine Education page on Instagram.

March 3rd is Mulled Wine Day

The world of wine offers so many different options that is difficult for anyone to say that they just do not like wine. There really is something for nearly everyone’s palate and every occasion. Mulled wine is one of these options. It is simply red wine that is heated and spiced.

Repurposing wine and changing its flavor profiles is a little scary for me. Why would anyone use a wine and change its characteristics instead of drinking it with my meal? Well, I recommend that you not use your best bottle. Now… I do not mean to say that you should use a “bad wine,” but you should use an “inexpensive” wine.

Mulled wine has been around for centuries, but in all that time it has not changed very much. During the Medieval period spiced wines were called Ypocras or Hipocris, named after the physician Hippocrates. Hippocrates described mulled wine as a medicinal tonic. The wisdom of that age considered wine to be a very healthy beverage. It was, after all, far safer to drink than water and mulled wine had the additional advantage of warming the body during winter. Moving forward to the 1500s, in Victorian England, Negus—a type of mulled wine—was even a treat served to children at their birthday parties. Today, mulled wine is a staple at many holiday parties and is primarily served around Christmas and during the winter months. [1]

The world of wine offers so many different options that is difficult for anyone to say that they just do not like wine. There really is something for nearly everyone’s palate and every occasion. Mulled wine is one of these options. It is simply red wine that is heated and spiced.

There is not a single recipe of mulled wine. Every country adds its own small twist to the name and ingredients. In the Netherlands it is called bisschopswijn (literally "bishop's wine") and is consumed during the Sinterklaas holidays. The Dutch use oranges instead of lemons as an ingredient. In France it is vin chaud ("hot wine") and typically consists of cheap red wine mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon. The Japanese know it as kan zake ("heated sake") or shoga zake ("ginger sake") and it is a combination of sake with ginger and sugar. In Germany it is called Glühwein, which is a heated concoction of wine spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. There is also a variation of Glühwein, which is made with white wine. In Russia it is Глинтвейн ("Glintwein"). Made from the same recipe as the German Glühwein, it is a popular winter drink. Finally, the Turks refer to it as Sıcak Şarap ("hot wine") and it is typically made by combining sweet red wine, sugar and citrus fruits such as lemon and orange. [2]

Sources:

[1] A Christmas Compendium - J. John page 80,

[2]  http://marketplaceeurope.blogspot.com.tr/2013/10/the-history-of-gluhwein.html