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I’ve never had mulled wine, so when I was reading through the delicious sounding recipes for my mulled wine roundup post, I got intrigued.
One of the recipes was for a non-alcoholic mulled wine and that got me thinking.
They used a bunch of juice, but also mentioned hibiscus tea—which is something I’m super familiar with.
My mom has made agua de jamaica since I was a child. Agua de jamaica is pronounced ah-gwah de ha-my-ka, not like the island nation Jamaica.
It’s an agua fresca, or fresh water drink, popular in Mexico. It’s a deep rich red color and made to be very sweet.
I figured why not add winter spices to that and call it done?
So I did, and of course it’s delicious!
But unlike the agua fresca version, this is served warm. Cuz winter, right? You can absolutely drink it cold if you prefer though.
What Makes a Wine “Mulled”?
Mulled wine is basically a red wine that has been simmered with a variety of winter spices.
This is popular in Europe and dates back to the Roman expansion over the continent. The quantity of spices differs but you can usually find cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and maybe even nutmeg and allspice.
These spices are always used whole, not ground (with the exception of the nutmeg). This makes it easier to strain and drink.
Fruit is also added, which makes me immediately think of sangria.
What are Winter Spices?
In this picture I’m showing the spices I used in this recipe. I’ve hyperlinked the ingredients to Amazon in case you can’t get them locally where you live:
Starting at the upper left and moving clockwise: there is a clementine, green cardamom pods, fresh cranberries, lemon peel pierced with whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, some star anise, and a few allspice berries.
Not shown are the hibiscus leaves, which you can see in this picture. While hibiscus flowers are sold locally in dried variety, these still had a bit of plumpness to then. You don’t want brittle flowers.
Is Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine Served Hot or Cold?
After the wine is “mulled,” or steeped with its winter spices, it is strained into a container and kept warm.
Like the regular version, non-alcoholic mulled wine is served warm to counteract the chill from the winter. Pour a mug and top with a little garnish and let it warm your body.
Since this non-alcoholic mulled wine has zero alcohol in it so you can drink it with reckless abandon and not worry about getting drunk—or suffering from hypothermia.
What is in Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine?
Even for this non-alcoholic variety of mulled drink, you do want to follow the golden rule in all mulled wine recipes: don’t let your ingredients sit together for too long. This makes the drink bitter.
The basic recipe is simple. What you’ll need are:
- hibiscus flowers
- winter spices shown above
- lemons and oranges
- 10 minutes
Since Pandemic Christmas ™ is on the horizon, and my family is 2 people, this recipe only makes 4 servings. It’s easy to double, but I’d be careful with how much more of the individual spices you add. Just a little cardamom, cloves, star anise, and allspice berries can quickly go a long way.
Of all the mulled wine, gluhwein, and glogg recipes I researched, most 2-bottle (1.5 liter) recipes had at most 8 star anise, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon of whole cloves, 8 cardamom pods, and a heaping teaspoon of allspice berries. That feels like a very strong flavor, so temper yours to your taste.
How to Make Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine
Add 1 part of hibiscus flowers to 4 parts water to a saucepan. Add granulated sugar, the rest of your spices, and fruits to the pan, then bring to a boil. Stir to make sure the sugar dissolves.
Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool for a bit so you don’t splash and burn yourself, then strain the mixture into a pitcher or punch bowl (however you plan to serve it). Add freshly sliced fruit to it if you plan to drink immediately or keep the fruit on standby.
Like agua de jamaica, this drink is great in the late afternoon. Though in winter, that means the sun is already setting, so it makes a wonderful sip as the sun slips away.
Have you had mulled wine? Don’t forget to check out my roundup for 19 other ways to add get your winter on with mulled wine (and even another non-alcoholic version too!).
And catch me on IGTV talking about both regular and non-alcoholic mulled wine later today on IGTV!
Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine: Winter Spiced Hibiscus Tea
- 1cuphibiscus flowers
- 1/4cupgranulated sugar
- 3/4cupfresh cranberries
- 15allspice berries
- 7whole cloves
- 5cardamom pods
- 3star anise
- 2cinnamon sticks
- 1lemon peel
- In a saucepan add the flowers, water, and sugar and stir to combine.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir to make sure the sugar dissolves completely.
- Once boiling, lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool then strain into a clean vessel.
- Serve warm garnished with sliced orange, clementine, or a skewer of cranberries and lemon peel.