One of the things that is most wonderful about a winter’s wedding, are all the little treats and tricks you can use to help your guests stay warm. With all the talk of wineries this month, and the cold weather still with us, we decided there would be no better cocktail to serve up than a classic mulled wine!

The spicy warmth of mulled wine is always perfect at a winter wedding (think of serving this one up on arrival as you welcome guests in from the cold). Using whole spices (over powdered species), the different spices infuse into the wine, along with the note of citrus from your oranges.

Mulled wine is all about personal preference. The sweetness can come from honey, maple syrup or simple syrup. Brown sugar is our preference for that deep, almost caramel flavour. You can use either brandy or triple sec in this one for a little added punch.  If you want to up your spices, think of adding ginger,  vanilla pods, fennel seeds or cardamom pods. And fruit-wise, you might even add lemon.

Oh, and style-wise? We’ve been lucky enough to be loaned this beautiful travertine “Frey” plate from Aussie brand Mihi Home which took the humble coaster to another level.

Ingredients (Serves two-four):

  • One bottle of red wine (best varieties include merlot, shiraz and grenache)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-4 star anise
  • Ground nutmeg (or whole nutmeg, to grate yourself).
  • 5 whole cloves
  • One orange, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy or triple sec
  • Dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks for serving


In a large heavy-based pan, add wine, spices, orange, sugar and brandy or triple sec and stir.

Bring the mixture to a high simmer on the stovetop and stir to dissolve the sugar. Make sure the temperature is not too high to boil the liquid, as it will overcook the wine.

Set the temperature to low and let it just simmer for at least twenty minutes to an hour (you can even keep this on the stovetop at the lowest of heats for a few more hours to maximise the flavour).

When ready to drink, strain into mugs. Garnish with dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks and serve.