Reasons why we drink mulled wine.










Mulled wine week at Shirt Sleeves.

It has been tradition at Shirt Sleeves for many years to have mulled wine and mince pies served in our store to our customers on the first week in December. So I thought it would be interesting to do some research on the history of mulled wine. There’s nothing like a warm glass of mulled wine on those cold winter nights to get you into the Christmas spirit. This warm spiced drink is a traditional hot sweetened aromatic red wine drink infused with citrus peel and warming spices.

As seen below German mulled wine was traditionally heated with hot irons used for mulling.

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The origins of mulled wine.

The history of mulled wine is hard to pinpoint but most agree that mulling wine originates from Northern medieval Europe when it was used for medicinal purposes. It is also thought that the mulling of wine was used as a way to improve bad wine and also to save wine that was about to spoil.



Mulled wine is thought to date back to the Roman antiquity but it wasn’t until the 14th century that the mixing of fruit and spices got its name from the Old English word “muddle” the word muddle is used today as being in a confused state. The original meaning of that confused state was bought on by alcohol and so mulled wine was born.


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Variations of mulled wine.

  • France, vin chaud (“hot wine”)
  • Bulgaria, greyano vino (“heated wine”)
  • Hungary, forralt bor (“boiled wine”)
  • Italy, vin brule (“burnt wine”)
  • Poland, grzane wino (“heated wine”)


Drinking to your health.

Romans when far away from their sunny homeland drank mulled wine to try and prevent the cold from getting into there armour. This is where drinking to your health originates from, interestingly many versions of mulled wine are found throughout the world  and they all have their own little tweaks that make them their own. Mulled wine has been a popular drink in England for many years (and more recently in the US) as festive drink enjoyed around the Christmas months.


Festive feel good factor.

Tradition is really important and for me I take a lot of pride in keeping these traditions alive, so please feel free to share and comment on the things that remind you most of Christmas,  for me it’s a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie during the Christmas months that fills me full of that festive warmth.


  • Susan Jacques

    Had my first glass of mulled wine and a mince pie today just what you need on a cold day!

    • shirtsleeves blog

      Thank you for your comment Susan, glad to hear you are enjoying mulled wine and mince pies on these cold Winter days and are getting into the festive spirit! Hope you enjoyed our blog?

  • Susan Jaques

    Yes, very good great read !