day 12: mandarin mulled wine

It’s the last day of Bakemas.

It’s also Christmas Eve.

What does that mean? I need a drink. And I’m darn tired of baking. So I’m giving my oven the day off and making a delicious beverage for y’all.

I’m always at a loss for what to serve at holiday parties. Regular ol’ beer and wine seem so blah. I detest eggnog (the real stuff…the store bought stuff sans alcohol I can drink by the gallon). Martinis don’t seem quite festive enough. Cider is good, but I always feel like liquor ruins the flavor of good apple cider.

But this year, I’ve come up with the perfect solution. And it involves cheap, cheap wine.

Need a last minute idea? Follow my lead, ladies and gents.

$5 a bottle? I’ll take it. Two of em. Double the recipe if you’ve got tons of folks, or if your family drinks wine like it’s going out of style. Mine does.

Please, please don’t waste good bottles of wine on this. Good wine was not meant to be cooked.

Rummage through your spice drawer and pull out a couple of cinnamon sticks, a few cloves, and a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

Also grab some mandarin oranges. Or “satsumas.” Or “cuties.” Or, as my husband likes to call them, “crack.”

You’ll need about 5, plus more for garnish (I used a regular orange for garnish because they’re bigger, so snag some of those too if you’d like).

Finally, measure out 3/4 cup of sugar. I had some raw sugar that I wanted to use up, but granulated or baker’s sugar would work just fine too.

Pour the wine into a crock pot (or a saucepan, if you don’t have one or it’s otherwise engaged). Halve three of the oranges and juice them over the wine.

Add the sugar…

…and spice(s) and everything nice…and give it a good stir.

Slice up the remaining two oranges…

…and float them on top of the wine mixture. It adds nice flavor, plus it makes it purdy.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours (if you’re using a saucepan, cook covered over low heat for 4 hours).

Serve warm, garnished with a fresh orange slice if you’d like. I also threw a cinnamon stick on there to make it bee-youtiful, but it’s not very practical for sippin.

Neither is the wine glass, for that matter. A mug would be much better for a hot beverage. But practicality has never been my strong suit.

Mulled wine is to wine what apple cider is to apple juice.

Does that make any sense?

I’ve been baking for way too long. What I’m trying to say is that the wine tastes spiced like apple cider does. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and oranges all come together to give it a festive, holiday-spicy flava.

Your guests will totally dig this junk. It tastes like you put way more effort into it than you did.

Plus you can get away with serving Trader Joe’s two-buck-chuck at a party.

Well, I’m off for a few days to lick my baking wounds and enjoy Lucy’s first Christmas.

Everyone out there have a safe, lovely holiday. Bake lots, take photos and hug your kiddos like there’s no tomorrow.

And don’t drink too much mulled wine. It may be delicious but it’ll kick you in the pants the next day.

Happy 12th Day of Bakemas and a very happy holiday, whichever one(s) you celebrate!


Mandarin Mulled Wine

  • 2 bottles (cheap) red wine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5-10 cloves
  • 5 mandarin oranges, plus more for garnish

Pour the wine into a slow cooker or saucepan. Stir in the sugar and spices. Juice three of the oranges and slice the remaining two. Stir in the juice and float the sliced oranges on top of the wine mixture.

Slow Cooker: Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

Stovetop: Cover and cook over low heat for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve warm. Garnish with orange wedges if desired.

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