It will be Christmas very soon, and there is nothing more cosy than having a glass of warm mulled wine in your hands on the day. Originating in Europe, there are different records of wine being heated up with various spices, which became the mulled wine we have today. When the Romans conquered Europe back in the 2nd century, it’s believed that the mulled wine culture was introduced and spread quickly to the public. Interestingly, various types of wine and spices are used owing to geographical differences, leading to many unique versions of this traditional Roman creation.

There are a few reasons behind the consumption of this beverage. Some believed that heating up wine was a good way to avoid waste and preserve any extra wine left on the table, whilst others thought that the added spices could provide health benefits and make the alcoholic beverage taste better. Finally, a simpler and more practical reason is that heating it up could keep people warm, especially in the Nordic countries. Regardless, the mulled wine culture is still thriving after all these years and has become an important part of the winter holidays, especially during Christmastime.

Amongst many different recipes, sugar is one of the major ingredients that helps to make the drink tastier and easier for consumption. However, as the trend of eating healthier becomes increasingly popular, what can be done so that less sugar is used while still retaining mulled wine’s delicious traits? We asked Privé Group’s head mixologist, Max Gurung, for a contemporary recipe made just for you (definitely exciting news for all the wine connoisseurs out there!).

Mulled Wine Ingredients
Mulled wine ingredients



  • 50mL Cabernet Sauvignon (or any red wine of your choice)
  • 2 pieces orange peel
  • 2 pieces lemon peel
  • 30mL brandy
  • 15mL orange juice
  • 25mL cranberry juice
  • 15mL Cointreau 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Add the orange and lemon peel in a hot saucepan with enough red wine to cover them and simmer for a minute or two.
  2. Pour in the brandy, orange juice, cranberry juice and Cointreau.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves.
  4. Pour in the rest of the wine and simmer for 4–5 minutes on medium heat.
  5. Ladle the wine into heatproof glasses and serve.

Important: Make sure the temperature stays warm at all times, and do not bring to a boil.

Max Gurung, known as one of Hong Kong’s favourite modern classic mixologists, crafts inventive modern and classic cocktails that are one of a kind. Having opened bars across Hong Kong including Three Monkeys, JB’s Whiskey Bar and Lounge, Beef & Liberty, G&T Bar and Opus Grill, Max is currently Privé Group’s head mixologist, creating unique concoctions for I Know John, Common Room, Bungalow, AMAZAKE and Assembly.

Creating and delivering memorable experiences in both nightlife and dining.

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