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Mulled Wine is good medicine

Amber Shehan December 14, 2011

It's awful to be sick. While it isn't a good idea to booze it up while you have the sniffles, a bit of mulled wine is sometimes the perfect medicine.


Grumble. Mumble. 

I have a fever…a mild one, mind you, and I should be in bed. I promise I’ll do that in a minute. First I have to tell you about what I am drinking right now – the perfect thing for a sick, sleepless night.

I am drinking some mulled wine.

Mulled wine is not just meant to be delicious, hot alcohol for pleasure alone. It can definitely be a good medicine when applied appropriately!

Mulled wine is good medicine - a recipe from

There are times when being sick can made you so bone-weary tired that you’ve just slept the day away. Sleep is a great way to heal, but then what if can’t get to sleep at night? That’s the perfect time to warm yourself a cup of spiced mulled wine and sip it in bed with a book on your lap until you doze off.

The best part about mulled wine is that you can make it in advance, store it in your cabinet, and pour out a glass as needed. I have been using the same old empty Irish Mist bottle since 2011 because it is lovely.  I use that bottle and pour a glass of spiced wine as needed, but I never empty it! There’s always a cup or so left in the bottle so that I can brew more and add to it, keeping history in the bottle!

Here’s how I make my mulled wine!

Mulled Wine

Buy some red wine. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is since we’re adding things to it and changing it. I tend to buy gallons of cheap burgundy wine and make big batches (and use the jugs for brewing later).

Pour your wine into a pot and put it on medium-low. Add any number of the following herbs:

  • Cinnamon stick
  • Ground cardamom seeds
  • Ground grains of paradise peppercorns or black pepper
  • Rosehips
  • Dried orange slice (or fresh!)
  • A couple slices of fresh ginger
  • Damiana (for fun and flavor)
  • Honey or brown sugar to taste

Feel free to add other herbs that would work for your symptoms: elderflowers, chamomile, star anise, licorice root (just a bit!), yarrow, hyssop…the list goes on!

Don’t let this pot of wine boil, but give it some time to sit at low heat, about for an hour or so should do. Allow it to cool. When it is cool, strain it into a bottle.

When you are feeling sick, pour a mug of mulled wine and heat it on the stove (or microwave it for 30 seconds) and sip it slowly, while relaxing and reading or listening to a story in bed. Let the rich flavors and the warmed alcohol lull you into a deep, restful sleep.

Cheers, to your health!

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Whenever I make medicinal mulled wine, I reach for two bottles. One, a regular bottle of red, whatever I have around, usually a Pinot noir or Shiraz. The second bottle has mulled wine in it already, a premade batch, a blend that has been working since 2011. Yup, that label is correct. You see, half of the old, dusty red wine goes into a pot on the stove. Then I add the same amount of regular red wine. Next, the aromatic spices and seeds, fresh ginger, and whatever medicinal herbs or fruit I have on hand. Elderberries, orange peel, rose hips, pine needles, astragalus, hibiscus are just a few I know I’ve used! There’s a cinnamon stick in the bottle itself, too. Finally, I add honey and sometimes brown sugar to taste. I never let it boil, just warm up and almost simmer. After a while, I strain two coffee mugs worth of wine and let the rest of the wine in the pan cool off. That gets strained and funneled into the old dusty bottle, which is returned to the cabinet full, ready for next time. I’m not sure why I started doing this ritual but it feels right to me. The tradition and continuation of the different medicines layered together over the years makes it feel magical. It isn’t just the medicinal qualities of it that delights, it’s the flavor, too. Over the years this bottle has transformed into a rich, spiced thick elixir of a wine. Ideally, this bottle will never be empty. #hearthwitch #herbalism #alewives #mayyouneverthirst #healingbooze #rewildingalcohol #kitchenwitch #cureswhatailsya

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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


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