When the weather starts to change from sunny to gray and cold, it’s time to put away the blenders and shakers and pull out the crock pots. More than just useful in slow cooking a pork shoulder or a hearty stew, slow cookers are a reliable and convenient device for making and serving hot drinks. And it’s hard to think of a more welcome and crowd-pleasing warm drink for the holiday season, or anytime during winter, than mulled wine, also known in Germany and Austria as Glühwein.
Between the ode to Britney and the subtly sweet aromatic liqueur that defines the flavor profile of this recipe, this easy mulled wine riff is a cold-weather crowd pleaser. The Hit Me Baby One More Glühwein calls for syrah; this robust wine is often used in wine-based drinks like Glühwein or Sangria because of its dry-yet-fruity and full-bodied flavor profile. However, any good, dry, slightly fruity red wine should do the trick. Just exercise caution when selecting one for quality: too cheap, and the final product will reflect that. Too pricey and well, you’ve used an expensive bottle of wine and dumped a bunch of spices in it. It’ll probably taste good but the overall quality will be lost in the mix.
Thanks to the use of cream sherry—which adds some salinity, nuttiness, and richness—as well as a minimal touch of honey, expect a rich, round mouthfeel. Originally, the recipe called for Townshend Bluebird Alpine Liqueur from Portland, Oregon’s tea-based distillery Thomas & Sons. Sadly, the distillery closed in December of 2019; while there’s no direct substitution, any other Alpine Liqueur can fill in here. The point is to add some subtle sweetness as well as the botanicals that evoke the spirit of wintery mountain ranges and post-ski trip imbibing.
While the recipe calls for an hour of cook time, the luxury of the crock pot is that it’s difficult (though not impossible) to overcook the wine. Just keep an eye on it, and if it goes for too long and starts to cook down at all, reduce the heat and top off with a little extra wine. The other convenience is that you can serve the punch straight from the pot, and it will give your dining table a centerpiece when entertaining.
- 1 750-milliliter bottle syrah red wine
- 12 ounces cream sherry
- 12 ounces alpine liqueur
- Peels and juice of 1/2 orange
- 3/4 ounce honey
- Garnish: grated nutmeg
- Garnish: orange peel
- Garnish: cinnamon stick
- Garnish: star anise
Add all ingredients into a slow cooker and set temperature to “low” for approximately one hour.
Switch to “keep warm” and serve as desired.
Garnish with a swath of orange peel along with spices of choice, such as a cinnamon stick, star anise and grated nutmeg.