A minute under pressure is all it takes to infuse wine with fruit and spices – then serve or keep it warm for a party.
Mulled wine is the perfect winter’s drink for a festive party or cozy get-together.
My husband spent many snowy winters as a young man in Trento’s Italian alps wrapped in his wool sweater and huddled with his friends in the glowing lights of a crackling fire playing chess and sipping Vin Brule’ (Mulled wine in Italian). So he was really excited to hear that I would work on coaxing his favorite winter drink from the pressure cooker. He shared his memories to re-create his favorite recipe which had a deep berry flavor brightened with apples.
My memories of Glühwein (Mulled wine in German) don’t go as far back, nor are nearly as romantic as his – as I first sipped it from a plastic cup strolling through Graz’s outdoor Christmas Market with Ada in the stroller wrapped in a sheepskin burrito and Vito, a Christmas star, toddling behind in a snowsuit so thick he couldn’t bend his arms or legs. The Austrian platz (plaza/square) had its snow pushed aside to accommodate miniature wooden houses illuminated with strings of lights snaking around hand-made crafts and ornaments. Oh, what a pleasure to hold that hot cup between my gloves and bring it up to warm my nose and, when it was finally cool enough, an absolute delight to sip. The mulled wine was tart and sweet at the same time with a kaleidoscope of spices dancing on my taste buds. Similar to a warm apple cider, but more decisive and rich.
Doubling, Tripling & Recipe Notes
This recipe will serve 12, but you can increase it for more you can double it (4 bottles of wine), or 2.5-it (5 bottles of wine) for a 6L/qt pressure cooker. For an 8L/qt cooker, you can triple it (6 bottles of wine) or 3.5-it (7 bottles of wine).
Since the spices in this recipe are divisible by three, and not two, when adding another bottle of wine (half recipe), err on the side of more, and not fewer spices.
Don’t use Natural Release, it makes the mulled wine bitter and un-drinkable by keeping the alcohol from evaporating. Natural release basically distills the alcohol into vapor which then condenses onto the lid while to dribble back into the remaining wine “juice” – that’s a total flavor fail. The Normal (aka Quick) Release lets the alcohol while also reducing the wine to concentrate the flavors – more on this in a shortly up-coming article.
I tried using my left-over nutmeg grater nubs for this mulled wine recipe but cooking these under pressure doesn’t do them any favors- vile is an understatement. Add nutmeg at the end to keep it pleasant and fragrant.
Finally, don’t alter this recipe by adding liquor before the pressure cooking stage- add it after pressure cooking (see the warning, below).
Pressure Cooking Alcohol & Wine Precautions
Be warned that when you release pressure for a recipe that contains mostly wine, a jet of concentrated alcohol vapor will be exiting the valve.
Follow ALL of these precautions when cooking with wine or alcohol:
After pressure is released and the lid is removed from the cooker, just follow normal precautions for handling and cooking with alcoholic beverages. Such as simmering it at very low heat (below 170°F / 75°C) and, unless your plan is to flambe’ (have the drink or food catch fire), keep open flames or sparks away (as detailed above) until the wine has cooled.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|3 L or larger||none||1 min.||High(2)||Normal|
- Serves: 12 servings
- Serving size: ½ cup
- Calories: 153.6
- TOTAL Fat: 0g
- TOTAL Carbs: 15.8g
- Sugar Carbs: 13.3g
- Sodium: 4.2mg
- Fiber Carbs: 0g
- Protein: .1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- 2 -750ml bottles (6 cups or 1.5L) dry red wine (such as Sangiovese, Merlot or Chianti)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 12 whole cloves
- 6 juniper berries
- 1 to ¾ cup (150-180g) white sugar
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 12 pinches nutmeg
- 1 orange, sliced and cut into wedges
- To the pressure cooker add the wine, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries, star anise, sugar
- Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
Electric pressure cookers and stove top pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve (see precautions, above).
- Mix the contents well, and serve in a glass or mug with a pinch of fresh nutmeg and an orange wedge speared in the glass.
- Serve this spiced wine immediately or let it bubble on "Keep Warm" or "Slow Cook" (low) for electric pressure cookers, and very low flame for stovetop during the party to scent the scene and nurture guests.
Sorry to be dense, but I must be misunderstanding your comment. You said, “I’ve given the sugar in a range.” Later, you said talked about adding the “remaining 1/4 cup” of sugar. Therefore, I expected that it would say something like “1/2-3/4 c.”
Instead, the amount given is exact “¾ cup (150g) white sugar.” What’s the “range”?
Apologies, from me Danielle. That line on the ingredients list should have read “1 to 3/4 cup (150-180g) white sugar” – it does now!
Thanks for the update. I appreciate the hard work that goes into each and every one of your recipes, not only creating them in the first place but also putting them online. Although many other pressure cooking blogs have sprung up lately, YOURS is the one that I consider to be the ONE expert in the field. Thank you!
Thank you. <3
Regarding hard alcohol..I have a bourbon baked beans slow cooker recipe that is excellent but I have made it in the Instant Pot (NPR) and, although no bitterness, no bourbon flavour either. I used 1/2 cup of bourbon. Not safe even if Natural Pressure Release?
Pressure cooking liquor is not safe, with any release. You can always add it after pressure cooking and… at least you’ll get to taste the bourbon!
P.S. Liquor evaporates at an even lower temperature than wine – and it creates more combustible gas:
This sounds great! One question -what liquor is added after pressure cooking, I don’t see anything in the recipe, or is this a general note about pressure cooking with liquor? (Finally, don’t alter this recipe by adding liquor before the pressure cooking stage- add it after pressure cooking )
Alison, this was me anticipating people wanting to further spike the mulled wine – it is actually quite common, especially in Northern Europe, to add hard liquor with the wine. Not sure how popular it is to do this in the United States where, in my experience, non-acoholic hot apple cider has a little more holiday play (at least at office parties!)
Nice, might have to give that a try :)
I just made this mulled wine and it is delightful and warming. I made the recipe using a a ratio of 2/3 merlot and 1/3 unsweetened organic cranberry juice. This combination was outstanding for a bit of tartness we were craving versus sweetness.
After the mixture and spices cooked and I did a quick release – the volume of the resulting mulled wine was significantly less than the amount of liquid I started with. Is this result the norm ?
Many thanks for this winter holiday recipe. 5 more bottles of wine in the pantry to make this again in the near future.
Andrea, I have not had a huge reduction in the quantity of the wine beyond normal evaporation. Since I just made some last night and I know the approximate size of the thermos and serving container I used I would say that I got about 6 cups (1.5L) of mulled wine. However, keep in mind, that this was me eye-balling it and does not include the water weight the apple or the liquefied sugar in the recipe – both of which create an azeotropic mixture which would prevent some of the alcohol (and volume) from evaporating during the building of pressure and release.
BTW, what kind and model of pressure cooker did you use?
Ciao & Merry Christmas!
I have an Instant Pot (three to be exact). My apologies. My son pointed out I had added some dried fruit for natural sweetness and the fruit had absorbed a bit of the liquid.
Mystery solved. I will use frozen fruit in the future if I want natural sweetness.
Many thanks ! Blizzard and sub-zero temps this weekend. Time for more mulled wine ~
OK, thanks for coming back to solve the mystery. I bet that wine-soaked dried fruit was delicious!
I’m new to using my instant pot. If I wanted to double this recipe (using a box of Black Box Merlot), how would I adjust the cooking time? Thanks!
I don’t know how much Merlot is in a black box, but you won’t need to increase the pressure cooking time. As you get more experienced with your cooker (or watch my pressure cooking school) you’ll learn that you don’t need to increase the pressure cooking time of any recipe when doubling, tripling, etc.
Can this recipe be halved, i.e. using only 1 bottle of wine?
Yes. The spices are in odd numbers, so round “up” with those. : )
Thank you very much!!!
If you follow your recipe, is it still alcoholic, or does some / a lot / most / all of the alcohol evaporate during the cooking process?
Elyssa, I have a vinometer but it is difficult to measure this recipe because it has sugar in it (which could read as a false positive). I got 8% but some of the sugar will also be calculated as a vinometer actually measures the “weight” of the liquid (and I believe that liquefied weighs more than alcohol).
However, I can assure you that some alcohol still remains. I’m not a frequent wine drinker but this mulled wine gave me a little buzz. You can always spike the mulled wine after pressure cooking with a little rum. ;)
Could I put all of the items into a mesh baggy so I don’t have to fish them out later?
This is going to be me this Christmas. I can’t wait to make mulled wine for my family and friends in my new electric pressure cooker.
Vivo vicino a Trento e veramente vorrei ringraziarti per questa ricetta. Fatta già due volte con diversi amici al rientro da una giornata sulla neve, tutti super contenti! Ottima e veloce. La noce moscata alla fine é irrinunciabile
Grazie per farmelo sapere!!
I’ve been to 3 stores to look for juniper berries and can’t find them anywhere. Amazon has them but they’re $37! How can I alter the recipe to omit the juniper berries? Thank you!!!
Yes, you can omit. Happy Holidays!