Warm & Cheery

Served hot or cold, spiced wine is a great treat for chilly fall evenings


Spiced wine’s exotic history stretches across the globe as an enduring part of emerging civilizations. As palates grew more defined and indulgence more valued, cultures started spicing wine.

The first known roots of spiced wine stem back as far as ancient Egypt when spiced wine with pine resin, figs and herbs (like balm, coriander, mint and sage) were used as an elixir.

As the allure of hot, spiced wine spread, this novelty became a staple in many parts of Europe and the Middle East, especially during frigid winter months. In addition to being a warm and cheery beverage, it was also rumored to have aphrodisiac properties.

Spiced wine has become customary in select parts of the United States and Canada, but has never quite reach the level of acclaim it has in Europe.

Over time, the purpose and dynamics of spicing wine evolved. Where spices once served primarily to mask the flavor of bad wine, now they are commonly used as a way to incorporate unique flavors into already drinkable wine.

Around the world, spiced wines may be identified by different names. Mulled wine is popular in the United Kingdom at Christmas and throughout winter. Gluwein (roughly, “glow-wine,” from the hot irons once used for mulling) is popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional beverage offered during the Christmas holiday.

Spiced wine is one of those beverages that lends itself perfectly to sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter’s evening. It is easy to make and can be a nice alternative to brandy or eggnog.

Spiced Wine
  • A bottle of dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced

Place water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves in saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the wine and lemon and orange slices. Simmer for one hour. Strain fruit and spices and pour wine into cups. Serve hot with cinnamon sticks for stirring. Enjoy.


Serving wine heated accentuates its tasty tannins and spices. Just warm to the temperature of your liking. I recommend 140 F.