National Mulled Wine Day is held on March 3 each year and is celebrated across the U.S. and the U.K. While the drink itself is famously associated with winter and Christmas, our day is held in March. While we search for the reason and person(s) behind this holiday, we invite you to warm yourselves with our interesting read.
History of National Mulled Wine Day
While records officially put spiced (a.k.a. mulled) wine in our world in the second century, there is a distinct possibility the drink has been around for a lot longer. Historians say mulled wine might have been present in Ancient Greece. It is assumed that they would put spices into their wine to prevent waste (adding spices makes wine last longer) and make the drinks as palatable as possible. One theory is that they called this spiced wine ‘hippocras,’ after the father of medicine, Hippocrates.
It is also believed that the ancient Romans took inspiration from this Greek tradition and wound up spicing their wines, too. Heated and spiced wine — on the official record — first appeared during the time of the ancient Romans. They called their mulled wine ‘Conditum Paradoxum,’ and it became immensely popular with the Romans (a version of this recipe is still sold today!). The possibility is high that they took their wine — and their wine culture — to each place they invaded and conquered.
The Middle Ages was when mulled wine shined. Popularity peaked during this time, as people loved the taste, and they believed — rightly so — that the spices made them healthier and less prone to illness. Before this time, various terms like ‘spiced wine’ and sometimes even ‘mulled wine’ were used, but this became official in 1618 when this word entered the dictionary. Merriam-Webster wrote ‘mull’ as a verb and defined it as “to heat, sweeten, and flavor (as wine or cider) with spices.”
The current perception of mulled wine as a spicy, festive, winter-time drink comes from Victorian England when most people would partake of this during Christmas. Recipe books as far back as 1390 detail mixing spices like ground cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and so on, with red wine.
Decades later, countries around the world have their own recipes and versions of mulled wine. Variations include everything from red and white wines to vermouth to port.
National Mulled Wine Day timeline
Historians think spiced wine has been in play since this period when Ancient Egyptians use it as medicine and for drinking.
Historical records indicate the use of spiced wine as a drink and medicine; quite likely, spiced or mulled wine was around long before this, although no written records exist.
One of the world's oldest cookbooks, the “Apicius,” has a recipe for the Ancient Roman spiced wine called Conditum Paradoxum; it is a mark of how the Romans prized this drink that it appears in this cookbook as the very first recipe.
In Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," Bob Scrooge talks about mulled wine as he has his famous epiphany — the book refers to 'smoking bishop,' which is a type of mulled wine popular during Christmastime in Victorian England.
The traditional English Christmas carol, 'Here We Come A Wassailing' (or 'Here We Come A-Christmasing,' 'Here We Come A-caroling,' or 'Wassail Song'), mentions the popular spiced drink; in fact, 'wassail' is another name for hot mulled cider.
National Mulled Wine Day FAQs
Why is mulled wine associated with Christmas?
Mulled wine has been associated with emotions like warmth, happiness, and good health, which are also linked to Christmas. The major bridge between the two happened in Victorian England, where people saw this as a sophisticated festive drink.
Does mulled wine get you drunk?
That depends on the amount of (and type of) mulled wine you consume. We do recommend you do not drink and drive, however, and put your (and others’) safety first.
Do you drink mulled wine warm or cold?
Traditionally, this drink was served warm. The recipe has evolved to include both hot and cold variations, depending on personal preference and the recipe itself.
National Mulled Wine Day Activities
Drink mulled wine
Mulled wine is pretty easy to find, and there are plenty of variations to suit every palate.
Invent a new flavor of mulled wine
Tired of store-bought? Try your hand at making mulled wine using your favorite bottle of red, which you can then personalize with any spices or fruits of your choosing.
Wine and dine with loved ones
Once you've perfected your mulled wine recipe, invite friends and family over for a quick bite. You can add to the theme by making special desserts like mulled wine cheesecake or mulled wine pudding, whose recipes are available online.
5 Fun Facts About Mulled Wine
To make it is to test your patience
Mulled wine must be carefully heated (slowly) and constantly monitored with a thermometer to make sure the alcohol content has not burned off.
The oldest mulled wine in the world
Glühwein (or 'glow-wine') is very popular in German-speaking countries and the Alsace region of France.
Mulled wine is also called...
Glogg (Sweden), Vin Chaud (France), Candola (southern Chile), Caribou (Quebec, Canada), and so on — these are versions of mulled wine specific to the region, but they all feature red wine with a mix of spices.
Non-alcoholic mulled wine
This is an increasingly popular option and is even given to children: spices can be mixed with cider or fruit juices to create this drink.
Red wine works best
Especially dark, fruity wines like cabernet sauvignon; lighter, more nuanced flavors lose out to the strong spice and fruit flavor that makes a mulled wine.
Why We Love National Mulled Wine Day
It tastes like holidays and winter
We love being reminded of the holiday season, and mulled wine, with its warm spices, takes us right back to the cold months at the end of the year.
Mulled wine is healing
It restores not just our spirits but our bodies too. The mix of spices is just the remedy we need to ward off illnesses during changing seasons.
Mulled wine is delicious
Spices, fruit, and sometimes, more alcohol, enhance the flavor of the wine, giving it that extra bit of oomph. Who can say no to a glass of that?
National Mulled Wine Day dates