Vanilla Mulled Wine

We are just finishing the tail end of a massive storm here on the Big Island and the rainy weather has us cozied up inside with this family favorite!

This is a great recipe to enjoy this evening, or, even better, tomorrow night (if you don’t finish it all tonight!).  You can use apple juice or cran-apple juice instead of the cider, but if you can find cider, I recommend it.  It adds a rich depth of flavor. This is another perfect recipe for a gathering since you can make it ahead of time.   I think you will truly enjoy the way the vanilla notes will soften any bitter edges and make this a new favorite!


  • Mulling spices (or make your own with 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 3 green cardamom pods, and 12 whole cloves)
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine)
  • 4 Cups cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 Cup vanilla honey (if you have it, if not, regular honey will suffice)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with the seeds scraped
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • * Extra cinnamon sticks for a nice garnish


To make your own mulling spices: In a heavy bottom sauce pot, heat cinnamon, star anise, cardamom pods, and cloves over medium heat until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir continuously to ensure spices do not burn.

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a serving pitcher. Pour into mugs to serve and add a cinnamon stick as a garnish. You can also save this in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 Enjoy responsibly and preferably with good Christmas tunes in the background.

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