I think by now we all know that I’m obsessed with all things Italian, right? After two summers spent wandering Italy, I’ve fallen hard for this beautiful, vibrant, quirky culture. There are sooo many things that Italians do very, very well: food, wine, design… but today I want focus on cocktails! The holidays are the perfect time for mulled wine, but I wanted to put a special twist on it and instead share an Italian style mulled wine recipe called Vin Brulè. It’s so tasty!
But first, what is Italian Style Mulled Wine?
Typically, traditional mulled wine is heated quickly for a short amount of time. The ‘Italian’ version originates in Northern Italy and has a slightly more involved preparation. This holiday drink is known as Vin Brulé, which is funny since that’s actually French! While the origins of the name are a bit unknown, what we do know is that it’s absolutely delicious. I love the combination of citrus, spice, and vanilla… and full bodied wine! Don’t feel like you need to splurge on wine for this; an affordable wine works perfectly.
Toast to Good Health With This Italian Style Mulled Wine Recipe
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 apple, thinly sliced (I used Pink Lady)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 bottle of full bodied red wine
- 1/2 fresh vanilla pod
To make Italian mulled wine, the key is to start with a flavored syrup. Place a large pot (I used this Dutch oven) on low-medium heat, then add sugar and enough wine to cover it, whisking as you go. Once the sugar has melted into the wine, increase heat to medium-high and add lemon and orange zest (careful not to include any of the pith to avoid a bitter aftertaste), apple slices and spices. Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, stir often for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture becomes more like a syrup. After that, add the rest of the wine. Before serving, remove the cloves, anise, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla pod. Serve in heat-safe glasses or mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
When it comes to serving this batch cocktail to guests, I suggest keeping it on low heat with a ladle close by so people can refill their mugs. Make sure that it doesn’t get too hot because you don’t want the alcohol to cook off too much!
This is the perfect drink to serve holiday guests or to bring to someone’s party instead of a dessert or side dish! It’s really so easy to make… sometimes I whip up a batch for a cozy date night in, also.
And a word about these amazing swan mugs: I bought them last year during a holiday sale from CB2… and unfortunately they are no longer sold! Such a bummer because they are truly fantastic. That being said, I rounded up a few alternatives that are just as fun and whimsical:
Looking for even more holiday cocktails? Check out these posts, too:
- 4 Classic Holiday Cocktails Every Host Should Know
- The Alpine Buck
- The Pomegranate Poinsettia
- Tiramisu Cocktail
- Gluten-Free Hot Buttered Rum