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To Mull or not to mull? A Wine option in winter.

Mulled Wine, the much loved hot concoction enjoyed around the world in winter, has many unique names and styles; Glögg in Sweden, Glühwein in Germany, and Grzaniec Galicyjski in Poland.  Infused with sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper.  Numerous countries even elevate with a generous splash of a spirit of your liking, some experts swear by Irish Poitin.  Now add to this citrus fruit, juice or rind, honey or sugar to sweeten, and you will be warmed to the cockles of your heart even on a cold day.

There is always History

Speculation of origin always exists, but in honour of the 2020 Olympics, we will give the GOLD MEDAL to Ancient Greece.

Waste NOT - Want NOT. To salvage the last of the Summer Wine, the Greeks cleverly added honey and spices, heated the Wine, and so preserved it a while longer. The result was a medicinal tonic that they used to ward off winter illnesses. They called the spiced concoction "hippocras," after the Greek Father of Medicine himself, Hippocrates.

Greek Father of Medicine, Hippocrates.


The Ancient Romans were the SILVER MEDAL contenders. They put their spin on the Winter warmer and named it 'conditum paradoxum', a sweet spiced Wine featured in the world's first cookbook Apicius. The traditional recipe is still used by some producers today. 

The Romans were also responsible for the rapid spread of Mulled Wine throughout their empire. They probably needed plenty to keep warm while battling the Germanic and Anglo-Saxons tribes and the uninviting temperatures. Well, they must have also traded some with their opponents as the rest of Europe shared third place BRONZE MEDAL in the Middle Ages. They created their individual adaptations to the recipe. Sweden and Germany have kept the trend very much alive. Glögg and Glühwine are still a must-have today in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Two ladies in folk costumes serve wine at Disagården in Old Uppsala, 1954 Photo: Uppsala-Bild/Upplandsmuseet.

Two ladies in folk costumes serve wine at Disagården in Old Uppsala, 1954 Photo: Uppsala-Bild/Upplandsmuseet.

Our 'Southern Hemisphere' Approach to Mulled Wine

Christmas falls in prime BBQ season, and the only time you will find Mulled Wine with our Christmas trimmings is if there is an unexpected Polar Blast on Christmas Day (which is not uncommon in Central Otago)

The best place to have Mulled Wine in New Zealand is on the ski field, aprė ski or exhausted after a great day by the fire just before a snooze.

Like to try some Mulled Wine? Here is a guide recipe; feel free to create your own favourite.


  • 750ml bottle of HAWKSHEAD Rosé
  • 1/2 cup clear apple juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • One orange (peeled and juiced)
  • One lemon (peeled and juiced)

Wrap all the spices in a muslin bag or just add and strain later

  • One vanilla bean
  • Four whole cloves
  • One cinnamon quills
  • Two whole star anise
  • Five pink peppercorns 


Step 1

  • Take the rind off the orange and lemon (avoid the white pith as it adds a    bitter taste to the Wine).

            Juice the remaining fruit.

Step 2

  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste test, and when you have the desired flavour, remove the spices to prevent them from becoming overpowering.

Step 3 - Optional but worth it 

  • Add a splash of Cointreau and serve with  a slice of fresh or dehydrated orange 

Serve with good company and quality fun banter 

Till next time, Team Hawkshead x

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