Mulled Wine with Blood Orange & Port

So apparently it was the Romans that were the first to spice and heat up their wines around the 2nd century. They felt that heating the wine defended their bodies against the cold winters. As the Roman empire expanded across Europe and into Britain, the legions brought their mulled wine with them. Its popularity grew throughout the middle ages and it’s believed that the Europeans enjoyed the Romans mulled wine as they felt it would promote good health and avoid sickness, they also introduced adding herbs and assorted flowers as natural sweeteners to the mix.

Any wine can be used and I enjoy using bigger robust wines like spicy zinfandels that seem to handle the additional flavorings in stride. As it’s currently blood orange season the slight bitterness of the orange marries well with the clover honey and myriad of spices.

The sous vide technique is perfect for this type of application, not only does it “mull” the wine with assorted flavorings but unlike conventional methods it’s a sealed environment meaning all those wonderful flavors stay in the bag, concentrating the mix, only revealing its true bouquet when the bag is opened. It also uses precise lower temperatures far more accurate that you could ever achieve on your own resulting in bigger brighter flavors as there is no evaporation or overcooking of the blend. Whether you use my recipe, a family classic or something you just pulled off the ‘net use the sous vide technique, when you taste it, you will be happy you did!

mulled wine ingredients


• 20 whole cloves

• 1+ large blood orange, split across its equator and another cut into wheels for garnish if desired

• 2 bottles zinfandel wine, favorite brand

• 2 cups tawny Port, favorite brand

• 1/4 cup honey, clover or similar, or to taste

• 3 cups apple cider, preferably fresh

• 2 cinnamon sticks plus 8 for garnish (garnish optional)

• 2 large green cardamom pods, cracked

• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

• 1 tablespoon allspice, berries

• 2 whole star anise

sous vide mulled wine image


1. Preheat the SV1 to 135ºF/57ºC

2. Press stem (pointed) end of 10 cloves into each half of the blood orange piercing through the skin.

3. Using the VacMaster Bag Filler and using appropriate sized VacMaster bag(s) add the orange halves and the rest of the ingredients.

4. Using a VacMaster Chamber machine vacuum carefully seal the bag and agitate to mix up the honey a bit then carefully place in the water bath of the SV1.

5. Cook the mulled wine for 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

6.Carefully remove from water bath of the SV1, strain, and serve hot or warm garnished with the cinnamon sticks and blood orange wheels if desired.

sous vide mulled wine photo