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How to Make Slow Cooker Mulled Wine with Cranberry Wine

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Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Leah Hall

This delicious cranberry wine is a slow cooker mulled wine. It’s an easy and quick cocktail for the holidays, or all winter long!


If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you already know that we are huge fans of serving big batch cocktails for holiday gatherings! Mulled wine is another great choice as a batch cocktail since (a) it only requires a few minutes of prep and can serve many (b) easy to greet guests at the door with a mug to warm up their cold fingers, brr (c) mulled wine (or cider) makes your home smell like a winter wonderland, and (d) it’s delicious and festive for this time of year! If you want a cool cocktail try out a Spiced Cranberry Sangria from our friends at A Joyfully Mad Kitchen!

Slow cooker mulled wine with orange slices, cranberries and spices in ladle

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A slow cooker might be a host and hostess’ very best friend, especially during the holidays! Especially when serving a warm, seasonal drink like mulled wine. A slow cooker filled with a warm and spiced cocktail is so easy when entertaining!

Red cocktail in mug with cranberries and rosemary

This slow cooker mulled wine is made with all of the usual ingredients: a bottle of wine, a splash of brandy, citrus slices, plus a few warming spices. But for this cranberry version, we used a tart/sweet cranberry wine, plus some fresh cranberries, whose flavors pair beautifully with the mulling spices.


Finally, some more fresh cranberries and a rosemary sprig is a festive extra garnish this year, in those heatproof mugs.

Red cocktail in mug with cranberries and rosemary

What is Mulled Wine Called?

Mulled wine can go by many names: spiced wine, hot wine, grogg, (Feuerzangenbowle is a variation!) are a few we have heard used interchangeably. We think they all essentially refer to the same drink, as far as we know!

Slow cooker mulled wine with orange slices, cranberries and spices

What Wine is Best for Mulled Wine?

In this recipe we obviously used a cranberry wine, but if you don’t have access to that, a red wine (or white) and a cup of cranberry juice will work, too!

  • The best wine for mulled wine is something dry and full bodied like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah (Maybe a Zinfandel). These will stand up to other flavors and ensure the spiced wine won’t be too sweet.
  • You can be economical with your choice of wine. Because of the added flavors, this is a good place to make use of a more budget friendly bottle. I mean, don’t buy 2 buck chuck, but you can go for a mid range price point, $8-$20 is reasonable.
  • We have 1/4 cup of maple syrup in this, but make sure to add a little at a time so it doesn’t become too cloyingly sweet (your brand of wine will make it vary), and you don’t want it cloyingly sweet.

This time of year, you might also see a lot of spiced wine brands selling pre mixed spiced wine in bottles.  Please don’t do it. This bottled spiced wine has a tendency to be overly sweet, and not super tasty. Homemade mulled wine is so easy to make yourself and better tasting, so there’s no need to buy it pre made.

Red cocktail in mug with cranberries and rosemary

Does the alcohol cook off in mulled wine?

Certainly heating wine is going to cause it to evaporate (especially in a slow cooker), and part of what will begin to evaporate is the alcohol. So we recommend adding a splash of another type of alcohol like the pear brandy in this one, to make your slow cooker mulled wine a little boozier!

How to Make Mulled Wine Less Bitter?

You can use all kinds of sweetener in a mulled wine, but the usual ingredients are sugar, honey and maple syrup. But fresh citrus slices or juice help with the sweetness too. You may just have to play with ingredients to find something that you enjoy, and a sweetness level that is desirable.
Red cocktail in mug with cranberries and rosemary

Can I reheat Mulled Wine?

Yes! Let the slow cooker completely cool, pour into a jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for no more than 3 days. Rewarm it on the stove top on low or in the slow cooker.

Slow cooker mulled wine with orange slices, cranberries and spices

Mulled Wine Possible Variations

Want to customize this cranberry slow cooker mulled wine a bit?  Feel free to:

  • Use a different liqueur: Instead of pear brandy, use Cointreau, bourbon or cognac. Or other brandy like apple.
  • Use a different kind of juice: In place of cranberry juice, feel free to make this recipe with pomegranate juice, apple cider, red or white grape juice, or even cherry juice.


Try out this Apple Cider Sangria from our friends at Crumby Kitchen. Cheers!


Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and tag #gastronomcocktails so we can see all the wonderful recipes YOU recreate from this site!


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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!

orange cocktail in tall glassPeach Bellini


Two Recap Cocktails, made with Bin 27 Port Wine, amaro, mint and lemon sits in front of holiday decor.Recap – Port Wine Cocktail


More Holiday Drink Recipes

Looking for more festive holiday drink ideas?  Here are a few more favorite holiday drink recipes!

Slow cooker mulled wine with orange slices, cranberries and spices
Yield: 8

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine with Cranberry Wine

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This slow cooker mulled wine is made using cranberry wine. If you don't have cranberry wine, then 1 bottle of dry red wine and 1 cup of cranberry juice will do the trick! But, it's tangy and full of baking spices for the holidays!


  • 1 bottle cranberry wine (or 1 bottle dry red wine + 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 orange, cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup pear brandy (or apple brandy)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (can use frozen)


    1. Add wine, brandy, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, cranberries and maple syrup to a slow cooker.  Stir to combine.
    2. Cook in slow cooker on high heat for 20 minutes. It should be warmed and steaming by this point, but if not give it another 5-10 minutes.
    3. Ladle into heat proof mugs and serve with an orange slice. To keep the wine warm, leave the slow cooker on the "Keep Warm" setting. If your slow cooker does not have this setting, alternate between "Low" and "Off."
    4. Cheers!


  • This recipe scales easily. Increase the batch size by as much as your slow cooker will hold.
  • MAKE ON THE STOVE: simmer wine, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, orange slices, cranberries and maple syrup in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove over low heat for 30 minutes. Do not let the wine boil. Add the brandy and serve.
  • TO STORE: Let your slow cooker mulled wine cool completely, then pour it into an airtight jar and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • REHEAT: Rewarm the cranberry mulled wine in a large pot on the stove over low heat, or pour into your slow cooker and reheat on LOW until warm.
  • Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:

    1 cup

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: .1gSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: .6gSugar: .8gProtein: .3g

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    Jenn Beard

    Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

    Mmm, sounds so festive! Cheers!

    The 'Noms.

    Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

    Thanks so much! I think it might turn into a new favorite!

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