Vino Caliente (Spanish Mulled Wine)

Gluten Free · Dairy Free · Vegan Friendly · Vegetarian

16 Apr · Written by Raquel Jones


As the days grow shorter and the chilly nights draw in, the allure of cozying up indoors becomes irresistible. In the world of wine, I find myself increasingly drawn to structured reds with well-balanced tannins—wines to be savoured by the fireplace.

Occasionally, there comes a bottle that may seem too weighty or less appealing, and rather than letting it go to waste, I grant it a new lease on life with my traditional Spanish 'vino caliente' (mulled wine) recipe!

One of the earliest documented references to mulled wine can be traced to the ancient Roman Empire. The Romans, known for their love of wine, would heat and spice their wine to create a warming beverage. They referred to it as "Conditum Paradoxum" and "Conditum Mellitum," and it was often consumed during feasts and banquets.

It was also popular in medieval Europe, known as "hypocras," and in Nordic countries as "glögg."

This tradition of warming and spicing wine has been embraced by various cultures throughout history.

There's a touch of magic in the air when the fragrant red wine mingles with a medley of spices, citrus, and a hint of brandy, all gently heated. Every time I concoct this brew, it whisks me away to Spain, where the delightful aroma of steaming mugs of vino caliente wafts through the streets, offering warmth and comfort during the cold winter season.

If you've never had the pleasure of sipping on a Spanish rendition of mulled wine, you're in for a delightful treat. It's a symphony of flavours that combines the essence of wine with a warm embrace of spices—a comforting mug of happiness for red wine lovers.

Here's my take on the Spanish 'Vino Caliente' recipe.

Bon Profit! Raquel x

Vino Caliente (Spanish Mulled Wine)

Serves 4 (~200 mL) pours

You don't necessarily require a Spanish red wine for this recipe. Instead, you can opt for a full-bodied red wine like merlot or cabernet, or a robust shiraz however a tempranillo will certainly make it a Spanish affair! It's essential not to use a wine you cherish; aim for a wine rated circa 6 out of 10 - not terrible, but not fabulous on its own, if you understand my meaning.


  • 750 mL bottle of full-bodied red wine (see NOTE above)
  • 4 strips of lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated works best, but powdered is fine)
  • 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways (or 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste)
  • 80 mL Brandy (Spanish from Jerez is perfect for caramelisation!)
  • 1 clementine (or substitute with mandarin)


  • Pour wine into a pot on the stove and turn the heat to high.
  • Add lemon rind, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla pod to the pot.
  • Stir briefly
  • Once bubbling, turn the heat down to a simmer.
  • Now add brandy and cut up clementine (peel on) and add to the pot.
  • Simmer gently for 25 minutes.
  • Strain through a sieve into a jug and serve hot in mugs.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange slice or star anise for something fancy!


If you're looking to pair this mulled wine with a snack, some strong blue cheese like Stilton or Roquefort and some toasted hazelnuts will work well. Or whip up a cheese fondue with some gruyere and fresh, rustic bread to enjoy with your vino caliente!

For something more substantial, consider pairing your mulled wine with a comforting dish of carne con chilli or trymy Carrilladas (beef cheeks stew), served with potato chips to please a crowd! [read WINE PAIRING & SERVING SUGGESTIONS on the recipe's page for more info].

The rich and savoury flavours of these dishes will harmonise wonderfully with the warm and spiced notes of the mulled wine, creating a cozy and satisfying winter dining experience.