Mulled holiday wine is a hallmark of cold-weather entertaining, but if you’re like us (nervous about getting red wine spilled all over your home by your jolly guests), this spiced white version is the boozy slow-cooker drink that’s about to become your standby. Riesling, a relatively sweet white wine that comes from Germany, has a fruity, floral flavor with notes of vanilla, grapefruit, and pears, and when served warm it blossoms in your cup. We like to enhance the Riesling by adding a shot of Galliano liqueur (which has a similar citrusy vanilla flavor with just a hint of anise), along with some sliced fruits and cinnamon. If you’re not a regular wine drinker, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy this beguiling elixir.

Some bottles of riesling are labeled sweet or dry — you want a bottle that’s somewhere in the middle. We used Kung Fu Girl Riesling, which has a nice balance to it. You can add as much honey as you like to get to the level of sweetness you prefer. We stuck to one teaspoon, but you could go up to even a tablespoon if you so desire.

Simmering in your slow cooker, this mulled white wine will infuse your home with an incredible smell and get all of your holiday guests in the mood to celebrate. Have leftovers? Chill in the fridge overnight, then use it the next day for holiday wine spritzers.

Slow-Cooker Mulled Riesling

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles Riesling
  • 1 1/2 ounces Galliano
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2-inch knob of ginger
  • 1-3 teaspoons honey

Directions:

1. Add Riesling and Galliano to your slow cooker, and set the cooker on high.

2. Cut apples and pear in half, using a melon baller to remove any seeds from the core. Slice them into 1/4 inch rounds. Add the pear and apple slices to the slow cooker.

3. Peel ginger using a spoon. Thinly slice it, and add it to the slow cooker.

4. Using a vegetable peeler (we’ve found that Y-peelers work best for this), remove the zest from half a grapefruit in long strips, being careful not to get any of the white pith. If your strips do have white pith attached, remove it using a paring knife (too much will cause your Riesling to taste bitter).

5. Add the grapefruit zest, cinnamon sticks, and honey to the slow cooker. Give the mix a stir, put the cover on your slow cooker, and let simmer for an hour.

6. After an hour, the mulled Riesling is ready to serve! You can set the slow cooker to warm to keep things toasty for the duration of your party. If you start to run out, just keep adding more Riesling to the slow cooker — the apples, pears, and other ingredients will continue to infuse the wine with flavor. Add more honey to taste as necessary.

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(Photos and recipe via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)