In Germany it’s called glüwein. In Sweden it’s referred to as glögg. In southern Brazil it’s known as quentão. Whatever you choose to call it, this snow season sipper is the perfect way to beat the chill in Northern Michigan wine country this month.

For our take on a centuries-old classic, we use crushed cardamom pods, whole cloves, cinnamon and fresh ginger as mulling spices. Wheels of seasonal blood oranges add a sultry pop of color. Maple syrup is the perfect sweetener. What’s more? This combination of ingredients is versatile enough to be topped with whatever float you happen to have lying around. Think: Black Star Farms cherry brandy or Brengman Brothers sweet vermouth.

We intentionally built this recipe for the crockpot so that while you’re out there skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, this winter warmer is ready when you get back. Go ahead; invite that other couple you bumped into back to your place. Mulled wine is waiting.

Mulled red wine and blood oranges

Photo by Sarah Peschel

Related Read: Searching for more delicious recipes? View our Northern Michigan Food & Drink page.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine Recipe

Makes 8 servings

  • 4 blood oranges
  • 1.5-liter bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or other red table wine
  • 1⁄3 cup Michigan maple syrup
  • 5 cardamom pods, gently crushed
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick, plus additional for garnish
  • An assortment of brandy, sweet vermouth or cognac for serving
Two glasses of mulled wine

Photo by Sarah Peschel

Mulled Wine Preparation

Juice 3 of the blood oranges, saving a peel from each and reserving the fourth orange for garnish. Add orange juice, wine and maple syrup to a slow cooker, stirring to combine. Top the mixture with 3 orange peels, cardamom pods, cloves, ginger and a cinnamon stick, and cover. Warm the mixture over low heat, being careful not to “cook” the wine—about 11⁄2 hours depending on your slow cooker. Once the mulled wine is heated through, slice the remaining orange and garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick and an orange slice. Ladle the mulled wine into each mug, straining off the mulling spices as you work. Serve each mug with a float of brandy, sweet vermouth or cognac—skiers’ choice.

Make-Ahead Mulled Wine

Busy day? Assemble your mulled wine in advance by combining all ingredients and letting them steep while cold. You can serve it both warm and cold- Warm, by heating it up in a slow cooker for 1.5 hours or cold by serving over ice sangria-style.

Blood oranges, red wine and spices.

Photo by Sarah Peschel

Spices for mulled red wine

Photo by Sarah Peschel

Photo(s) by Sarah Peschel