Thanksgiving Family Traditions: Mulled Wine for a Warm Welcome

November 20, 2018 Updated: April 9, 2021

Step into the home of celebrity caterer Andrea Correale, and you’ll soon find your hands wrapped around a warm glass of mulled wine. She offers her family recipe, to share with your guests, too. Bonus: It’ll make your home instantly smell like the holidays.

We always greet our guests with mulled wine as they arrive. The recipe is from my great-grandmother, who immigrated here from Italy. She told me that it was a special drink she grew up with, that her mom served at important family gatherings. She started making this every Thanksgiving, and my dad carried on the tradition.

Thanksgiving in my family has changed over the years, but now I’m the one that always hosts it. We begin with the mulled wine, which also acts as a yummy potpourri. I cook all of the main dishes and everyone else brings appetizers and desserts. Lasagna, with four different types of meat and homemade sauce, is always a staple, too.

Of course, my table is super festive with a Thanksgiving theme. At every place setting, we put a card and pencil and ask everyone to write down five things they are grateful for. After we say grace, we go around the table and read our lists.

Mulled Wine

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anises
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste (or your desired sweetener)
  • Optional add-in: 1/4 cup brandy (or your favorite liqueur)
  • Optional garnishes: orange slices, cranberries, extra cinnamon sticks, and extra star anise

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, and heat just barely to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Be careful not to boil—you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.)

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes. Saltier cheese or blue cheese pairs well with heavily spiced mulled wine. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Andrea Correale