It does and does not make sense to use an Instant Pot for mulled wine.
On the one hand, pressure cooking is incredibly efficient. With an Instant Pot, you can transform unremarkable supermarket wine into festive gluhwein in five-ish minutes. This is a great party trick! Besides, when patience and temperatures are plummeting, every minute counts.
Skeptics argue, however, that it’s easy enough to make mulled wine on the stovetop. This is true, but hardly the point: Instant Pots achieved cult status because they make time-intensive cooking projects convenient, not because they accomplish otherwise impossible tasks.
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And so if you have an Instant Pot, you might as well mull wine in it.
Instant Pots are less than a decade old, but warm, spiced wine has ancient origins. It goes by many names — grog, gluhwein, wassail, or mulled wine — but the general rubric consists of red wine, spices, and some sort of sweetener.
European iterations often involve combining spiced wine with a second spirit, such as brandy, and tempering all that booze with white sugar. Star-spangled mulled wine recipes tend to involve apple juice or cider alongside wine, sugar, and spices.
This recipe blends the two ideologies. Instead of apple juice or cider, we call for apple brandy. It plays beautifully off the tart sweetness of freshly squeezed orange juice, which we substitute for apple. Spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and cloves create wintry vibes, while whole black peppercorns provide bite.
The recipe is highly adaptable. If you don’t have apple brandy, swap in apple juice or cider, but be sure to cut the sugar by at least half. You can also use tawny port and leave the rest of the measurements as written.
Neurotics like this author prefer to juice oranges to order because it gives you more control over your sweetness, but this is by no means an absolute rule. If you want to use bottled OJ, go for it! Just be mindful when you’re adding sugar, as many packaged orange juices do contain a considerable amount on their own. Remember: You can always add more sugar. You can’t take it away.)
Blood oranges or even lemons can sub in for the naval orange, too. Those citrus fruits are bitterer, though, so be sure to add two to three more tablespoons of sugar to the pot before firing up your machine.
The best wine for mulling depends on your taste and budget, but, generally speaking, go for full-bodied reds that won’t break the bank.
“All of the subtle notes in wine will be overshadowed by the intense spices and sweetness you add,” sommelier Jared Weinstock tells Eater. Instead of shelling out for “a Burgundy premier cru or a Trousseau from Jura or even a Chinon,” Weinstock suggests opting for a solid, affordable bottle. Chateau Lagrezette Seigneur de Grezette 2015 does the trick, as does Senorio de P.Pecina 2013.
Best of all, this recipe can easily be multiplied for a crowd. Check your Instant Pot capacity before popping bottles.
Instant Pot Mulled Wine Recipe
It takes just five minutes to make this mulled wine. The below will serve four people, but can be doubled, depending on the size of your Instant Pot.
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 bottle full-bodied red wine, such as Syrah, Rioja, or Malbec
- 1 cup applejack, such as Laird’s
- ½ – ¾ cup sugar
- Ground nutmeg, garnish
- Put all ingredients except nutmeg in your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for one minute.
- Release the valve (carefully! wear gloves or use a potholder!) to expel steam.
- Give everything a stir.
- You now have two choices. You can either start serving your mulled wine as is; or, if you prefer a slightly more refined grog, filter the mulled wine through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl to get rid of the spices, and then return it to the pot.
- Ladle your finished mulled wine into mugs, and garnish each with a pinch of nutmeg.
- Have some extra mulled wine? Keep it in the pot, set to “keep warm” until you’re ready to drink.