Mulled wine is the perfect drink for fall and winter holidays or chilly nights at home. This non-alcoholic mulled wine recipe can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s full of warm spices that will make you feel cozy and make your house smell fantastic!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
Chilly nights in fall and winter call for warm drinks, sipped from a mug. (Preferably in a cozy sweater.) Hot chocolate, tea, cider, and mulled wine all come to mind.
Did you know you can make mulled wine without the wine? (But Chels, wine is right in the name…)
The secret is grape juice!
Stay with me, folks. Using grape juice instead of wine makes this drink flavorful without being bitter or boozy. Anyone can enjoy this drink, even those who don’t drink alcohol. This mulled wine recipe will make you feel all warm and toasty, without getting toasted.
Plus, the warm mulling spices will make your kitchen smell incredible. It’s the perfect recipe to make when guests come over.
I can hear your guests now, “Wow! Your house smells amazing. What are you making?”
You can thank me later.
Start with the right ingredients
100% grape juice is key here. I’ve tried cran-grape… I’ve tried light grape juice… and neither tasted quite right. Welch’s grape juice comes the closest to the rich flavor and color of red wine.
If you can’t find a mulling spice mix, you can make your own with a mix of dried orange peel, dried lemon peel, whole cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, allspice, and star anise.
We don’t need this drink to boil, we just need a little bit of heat to warm it up and infuse the flavor of the spices into the grape juice. If you boil your grape juice, you’ll end up with a thicker, reduced mixture that may burn.
Strain and garnish
After you’ve simmered the mixture for about 10 minutes, place a small sieve or strainer over your mug and carefully pour the hot mixture in.
If you’re worried about spilling, you can place the sieve or strainer over a large measuring cup, then use the measuring cup to pour into your mugs.
Finally, garnish with sliced fruit and more spices. I love the look of persimmons and star anise. Other ideas include: an orange slice, a sprig of rosemary, pomegranate arils, or apple slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! 100% grape juice is a great red wine substitute. You can also swap in apple cider.
Yes and no. Boiling wine or spirits over a long time will cook out most of the alcohol. Since recipes like mulled wine are simmered over low heat, the alcohol doesn’t cook out enough for it to be considered a low- or no-alcohol drink. That is why this version is made with grape juice!
Mulling spice is a mixture of whole spices and (usually) citrus peels that is mixed with liquid (usually wine or cider) and cooked slowly to infuse flavor into the drink.
You can make mulling spices at home by mixing together the following: ¼ cup each lemon peel and orange peel, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons chopped nutmeg, 6 cloves, 1 teaspoon cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon whole allspice, and 2 star anise.
You can also vary the amounts and types of these ingredients to make your own unique twist on mulling spices. Just about any whole dry spice that’s typically used in sweet recipes would work here.
- Make your own mulling spice – mix together the following: ¼ cup each lemon peel and orange peel, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons chopped nutmeg, 6 cloves, 1 teaspoon cardamom pods, 1 tablespoon whole allspice, and 2 star anise.
- Cider version – Swap in cider for grape juice and you’ll have a tasty mulled cider.
- Use a different variety of grape juice – I’ve tried this and I’ll just say this, I would not recommend it. Go for 100% grape juice!
- Wine version – You can absolutely make this with red wine. Use a dark and fruit-forward red wine. Merlots and cabernets would be my preference, but you can use whatever you have on hand. It does not need to be a fancy wine! Make sure to cook gently over low heat and not boil your wine.
- Make for a crowd – Multiply all of the ingredients this recipe as needed to serve more people. You can strain the mixture directly into another pot so you can ladle out each serving as needed.
Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine
- small pot
- sieve or strainer
- 4 small mugs
- 3 cups grape juice
- 2 tbsp mulling spices
- 2 star anise pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange slice
- 4 persimmon slices or orange slices (optional for garnish)
- Add the grape juice, mulling spices, star anise pods, cinnamon sticks, and orange slice to a small pot.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer (not a full boil), then continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the mixture into mugs and serve garnished with a persimmon slice (or an orange slice), a cinnamon stick, and a star anise pod.
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.