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Holiday Wine Cocktails

Holiday Wine Cocktails


Holidays are a time for celebrations and entertaining.  Entertaining is always so much easier when you can prep in advance and stay out of the kitchen.  Having cocktails prepped limits your need to bartender.  Here are two cocktail recipes you can make prior to your guests’ arrival.  The best thing about these recipes is that wine has been substituted for spirits. Using wine instead of spirits lowers your entertainment cost. Wine cocktails recipes are easy, and inexpensive.  Sip, enjoy and repeat. Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Pinot

Serves 10- 12 people

2 cups   Fresh Cranberries

1 cup     Orange Juice

1/3 cup Sugar

1 Tsp     Cinnamon

4 cups   Pinot Grigio

¼ cup    Grand Marinier©

Orange Slices and fresh Cranberries for garnish

Note: Please do not buy an expense Pinot Grigio.  If you want to substitute the Pinot, use a white wine with a medium – high acidity level. Avoid oaky Chardonnary



1. Combine cranberries, orange juice, sugar, and cinnamon in a sauce pot. Let mixture boil until sugar dissolves. Cranberries will begin to pop. You can hear the cranberries popping in the video. Once sugar is dissolved remove from stove, and let mixture cool. Pour mixture into serving pitcher or bowl.



2. The cranberry mixture is in the center. Add the entire bottle of Pinot Grigio and top with Grand Marnier. Garnish with orange slices and fresh cranberries



3. Garnish with orange slices and fresh cranberries

Pomegranate Sparkling

Serves  10 – 12 people

1 cup     Pomegranate seeds

1 cup     Sugar

1 cup     Water

1 bottle Sparkling Wine

Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Note: Please do not buy an expense sparkling wine.


1. Combine pomegranate, sugar and water in a sauce pot. Boil for 10 -12 minutes. You want a hard boil but do not let it over cook. You are creating a simple syrup. Once sugar is dissolved and mixture is brilliant thick red, remove from heat. Let cool and remove pom seeds. Place syrup in refrigerator for half an hour. You can make the mixture a few days before your event.
Place a teaspoon of syrup in Champagne flute or wine glace.


2. When your guest arrive, top simple syrup mixture with a sparkling wine. This is fun way to greet your guests.


3.  Add cook pom seeds. You can garnish with rosemary sprigs.


Cheers! Toast to the holidays.  Enjoy your friends and family.

Mulled Wine: A Christmas Holiday Favorite

Spiced Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a Christmas tradition. This tradition dates to the 16th century.  Prior to becoming a Christmas tradition, mulled wine can be traced to the Roman empire.

Mulled (pronounced mold) wine is a heated wine. Red wine was original served heated with mixed spices, lemon and honey.  Served heated to make the cold weather more manageable. Spices were added to promote good health and wellness. Honey and floral flavors hid the taste of bad wine.  Today, there are variations of mulled wine from red and white wines to sangria blends. mulled wine

Selecting Wines

You do not have to use an expensive wine.  Actually, if a wine was re-gifted to you, that may be the best wine to use as your base. You need a hearty wine like a Syrah, Malbec or Zinfandel.  Do not use light or medium body wine like a Pinot Noir. Mulled wine can be made with white wines also.   Riesling or Chenin Blanc are great white wines.  You want an aromatic white wines with low acid.

Preparing Mulled Wine

You want to make sure you do not burn off the alcohol. Heat slowly to a maximum temperature of 160 degrees. Keep a thermometer near.  The mixture loses alcohol when the temperature reaches 167 degrees. A crock pot is the best method to warm your concoction. Keep the setting on low.


Quick and Easy Recipe

Do you want to enjoy this holiday traditional without the measuring and mixing? Lt. Blender Wine Freezer makes a mulled wine mixture. wine-freezerYou only need three ingredients.  Add a bottle wine and water to the bag. (I prefer to forgo the water and add two bottles of wine). Shake the bag mixing all the ingredients, pour into pot and warm.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks.  You can purchase Wine Freezer at Amazon.com. Easy!!


Traditional Recipe

If you are up for the challenge, try this more traditional recipe. This recipe is courtesy of Kitchen Confidante.  I really love this recipe.




1 750-ml bottle red wine (perferrably a Maryland wine)

1 cup sugar

1 cup apple juice

2 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 clementines, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

3 cinnamon sticks

2 whole nutmeg

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice



In a heavy saucepan or slow cooker, combine the wine, sugar, apple juice, fruit and spices. Warm the beverage slowly over low heat without boiling and allow the flavors to come together for at least one hour. Strain before serving, if you wish. Enjoy warm!

We have more mulled wine recipes on Vino 301’s Pinterest page.  Check out our page. You can also attend our Holiday Wine tasting class on December 10 at Old Line Wine Spirit and Bistro in Beltsville, MD.

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