Wintry Wednesday | Mulling Spices

Now, I love winter and the holiday season is my favorite time of year. But in more than half of the country we are having an unseasonably warm December. It’s making it a little difficult for some people to get in the holiday spirit…even myself.

When I worked in retail during the holidays, Williams-Sonoma was one of my favorite places to work. The smell of mulling spices in the halls of the malls would draw our customers in just to ask “what’s that smell?” Mulling Spices was, and still is, a holiday staple.

You can make the mixture on your own. It’s not too complicated. Here is a recipe that may help you get in the holiday spirit via your sense of smell. Our senses can really transport our minds to a mood or feeling, and this is definitely sure to help you get into the Christmas mood.

Mulling Spices

mulled wineIngredients:

  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 nutmegs, cracked into pieces with a hammer
  • 2 bottles (each 750ml) dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Stripped zest from 2 oranges and 2 lemons, plus more zest for garnish
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


Tie the cloves and nutmeg pieces in a small square of cheesecloth, or put them in a large metal tea ball.

In a large nonaluminum pot, combine the wine, sugar, orange and lemon zests, orange and lemon juices, and cinnamon sticks. Add the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Heat over medium-low heat until steam begins to rise from the pot and the mixture is hot, about 10 minutes; do not let it boil. Remove the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Keep the wine warm over very low heat until ready to serve.

Ladle the wine into cups or heatproof glasses, garnish with the citrus zest and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

Mulling spices is also awesome with apple cider. Just substitute the wine for apple cider, and the aroma will transport you to Christmas. If you don’t want to find all the spices, just try Williams-Sonoma Mulling Spices. They have them in sachets now! So less mess.

Happy Holidays!!