This Cooking Method Makes Mulled Wine A Breeze

Whether you are hosting a party this holiday season or you just want to relax by the fire with family and a warm mug of alcohol, chances are you do not want to work too hard to make it happen. The very definition of the word "holiday," after all, is a day when you do not have to work (via Merriam-Webster). This "no work" policy should include the time spent making a batch of mulled wine for guests or family members. So unless your idea of fun is standing over a saucepan for half an hour making sure your mulled wine does not boil (via Matching Food & Wine), you need a foolproof, effortless way to make this sweet-spicy wine concoction.

We will leave the ingredients up to you, of course, as recipes for mulled wine are all over the place. Some call for juices, such as apple cider and cranberry (via Delish), while others insist that you stay away from fruit juices (via Matching Food & Wine). Some recipes call for regular sugar (via Delish again), while others suggest maple syrup because it dissolves more readily (via Kitchn). Most recipes agree that cloves, cinnamon, and star anise are the three essential mulled wine spices, however (see Kitchn, Food Network, and Delish).

Whatever ingredients you use to make your mulled wine, one element remains absolutely essential if you wish to minimize the work and go straight to the fun: a slow cooker.

Use the slow cooker as the serving bowl for your mulled wine

Contrary to some slow cooker mulled wine recipes (see Delish), you do not want to set your cooker to "high." It may work just fine, but if you get distracted and let the wine mull in a cooker set to full-blast, it will boil, which is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with mulled wine.

The Kitchn's slow cooker mulled wine recipe is about as easy as it gets. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, including brandy for a little extra kick. Set to low for one hour, and — that's it. You're done. Just be sure to reduce the setting on the slow cooker to "warm." You do not need to transfer your mulled wine into a fancy punch bowl, either. Set the crock pot in your living room with a ladle and mugs and let guests or family members serve themselves. If the mulled wine is getting low, just pour in more of the wine, brandy, syrup, and so forth. Refresh the spices as needed. Your beverage might start tasting less mulled as you add ingredients mid-party, but your guests will have already knocked back a few quarts of the stuff, so they likely won't mind.

Holidays are supposed to be merry, after all, not miserable.