Tart Cherry Mulled “Wine” (2 Ways!)

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Hand holding a mug of tart cherry mulled "wine"

Today we’re bringing you our new favorite holiday drink! This tart cherry mulled “wine” was inspired by traditional, oh-so-delicious mulled wine that usually brings red wine and spices together in a warm, comforting drink. We swapped the wine for tart cherry juice and were blown away by the result (and the health perks)! 

It’s a delicious, non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine, but you can also add whiskey or rum if you’re after a boozy twist. It looks like the real thing, is perfect for the holidays, and will make your kitchen smell AMAZING. Just 5 ingredients, 1 pot, and 20 minutes required! Let us show you how it’s done!

Cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, orange peel, orange juice, tart cherry juice, and whiskey

Tart Cherry Juice Benefits

The natural deep red color of tart cherry juice is a sign that it’s rich in antioxidants. Specifically, tart cherries are rich in polyphenols and have even more antioxidants than red wine or dark chocolate (which are both known for being rich in antioxidants!).

Some small human studies show tart cherry juice may have the following health benefits: 1) improvement in sleep quality and quantity, and increased melatonin (source), 2) aiding in recovery after intense exercise (source), and 3) reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (source). It’s also rich in potassium!

Where to Buy Tart Cherry Juice

You can find tart cherry juice at nearly any grocery store these days. Health food stores (like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods) almost always have it, but even mainstream stores carry tart cherry juice. If you’re having trouble finding it at a mainstream grocery store, try checking the health food aisle.

How to Make Tart Cherry Mulled “Wine”

Similar to mulled wine, we make this tart cherry version by simmering orange peel and whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, and star anise) in the liquid to infuse it with flavor.

Pouring orange juice into a pot of tart cherry juice and spices

We also include orange juice for its natural sweetness, which beautifully complements the tart cherry juice.

Straining mulled tart cherry juice through a fine mesh strainer

After simmering for 15-20 minutes, we can promise a few things:

  • The spices will infuse into the tart cherry juice
  • The only thing left to do is strain and enjoy!
  • Everyone will love it (even your boozy friends, who can add whiskey or spiced rum at the end).
  • Your kitchen will smell amazing!
Star anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks floating on mugs of tart cherry mulled "wine"

We hope you LOVE this non-alcoholic mulled “wine”! It’s:

Warming
Comforting
Sweet & spicy
Versatile
Perfect for the holidays
& SO delicious!

It’s a festive and delectable drink that’s sure to warm you up from the inside out. If you’re feeling snack-y, try it paired with our Candied Spiced Nuts (1 Pan!), Cheesy Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip, or 5-Ingredient Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Snowballs. It would also pair well with our 1-Hour Vegan Pot Pies for a cozy winter meal.

More Cozy Antioxidant-Rich Beverages

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of mugs of non-alcoholic tart cherry mulled "wine"

Tart Cherry Mulled “Wine” (2 Ways!)

A delicious non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine, made with tart cherry juice! Warming, perfect for the holidays, and guaranteed to make your kitchen smell AMAZING. Just 5 ingredients, 1 pot, and 20 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Mug of tart cherry mulled wine with orange, cinnamon, and star anise
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 (Cups)
Course Beverage
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

  • 1 quart tart cherry juice (we used RW Knudsen brand // NOT tart cherry concentrate)
  • 2 Tbsp orange peel (from ~1/2 orange // orange part only — the white pith will add bitterness)
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from ~1 orange)
  • 3 oz whiskey or spiced rum (optional // 1 oz per serving)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Orange rounds
  • Extra cinnamon sticks or whole spices

Instructions

  • To a large saucepan, add tart cherry juice, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and orange juice.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and stir in whiskey or spiced rum (if using). Serve warm.
  • Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in a saucepan or the microwave until warm. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Loosely adapted from the Mulled Wine by the lovely Gimme Some Oven.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without rum or whiskey.

Nutrition (1 of 3 servings)

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 175 Carbohydrates: 43.1 g Protein: 1.5 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 25 mg Potassium: 557 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 31.5 g Vitamin A: 61 IU Vitamin C: 15.8 mg Calcium: 43 mg Iron: 1.9 mg

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  1. Megan says

    Made over the holidays and it was a hit, so we’re enjoying some as a wintertime beverage too! Our local shop was out of Star Anise the first time (supply chain issues) so we used licorice tea bags instead, a great substitute! Using the real deal this time. We mix ours with bourbon and it’s delish.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks so much for the wonderful review and for sharing your modifications, Megan. So glad you enjoy it!

  2. Nelle says

    Love this recipe! It is a nice treat that is perfectly spiced and so yummy. I leave the spices in as someone else suggested and agree that I love how the flavor only intensifies. Thanks again for an amazing recipe.

  3. Allison says

    I really enjoyed this and am making it again right now.

    Instead of straining out the spices/peels, I put them back in the glass bottle along with the juice and then strained with an itty bitty sieve before reheating. I LOVE how the flavors continued to develop over the days it steeped in the fridge.

  4. Lucy says

    Participating in dry January, so while family are toasting the New Year with champagne, I am having the mulled “wine” and feel like I’m still having a drink with them. It’s a very lovely substitute. Plus, the health benefits!

  5. Amber Rose Reed says

    I absolutely loved this. I added allspice & bottled oj because some unforeseeable circumstances happened to my oranges. So, this was still amazing following the exact recipe. I also added St John’s Wort it was mixed with cane alcohol. So, I didn’t end up making the non-alcoholic version but, that’s okay because it still was delightful to my senses. I had been needing something with vitamin c and some herbs because my body was starting to get a little head stuffiness, so this should help clear it right up. Thank you so much.

    ps: My Orange peel had gotten moldy in the zip lock bag in the fridge.. LOL so no orange peels.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Amber. Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your modifications!

  6. Elle says

    This was so delicious! I JUST found out I’m pregnant and am a huge mulled wine fan around the holidays. This satisfied my cravings & was so easy to make. Will definitely be making this again when I’m in a pinch for something non-alcoholic. I can’t wait to add some bulliet bourbon in it one day though…;)

  7. Linda says

    I followed the recipe exactly and find this a fabulous recipe. The level of sweetness/tartness was perfect! I also used the knudsen brand of cherry juice. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Jennifer says

    So delicious! But be warned, tart cherry juice can cause stomach cramping / digestive issues. My poor guests! Loved the spices though, just need to serve very small glasses of it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jennifer, We’re so glad you enjoyed it! So strange on the digestive issues. We drank quite a bit when testing and didn’t experience any issues. Is it possible you had it with something else that could have contributed?

  9. Jordan says

    I can’t wait to try this. Actually, I’d like to make it tonight for Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, no where had star anise in stock. I bought anise seeds, later realizing it’s not the same. Any advice?! Should I skip the stars or add something else? I don’t have chinese 5 spice either.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jordan, you could definitely leave star anise out and it would still be delicious! Anise seeds have a similar flavor, but we’d suggest using less of them. Hope you love it!

      • Jordan says

        Thank you for the quick reply. It was just in time! This was a tasty recipe, but I did want to mention a couple changes I had to make in order to tolerate the tartness. I had to add sweetener. I used maple syrup. It was impossible for me to drink with that tartness. I took it to my brother’s for Christmas Eve, and it was suggested that we cut it with water. That made all the difference. We probably added almost half the juice bottle (16ozish) to the pot, and that made it a tasty drink. One family member added a little apple juice to her mug. I appreciate the recipe, but for a party setting, cutting it with water and sweetening it will make it more likeable for that amount of people. There are just very few people who can handle that amount of tartness. Thanks!

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Jordan, we’re so sorry to hear that was your experience! What brand of tart cherry juice did you use? Is it possible it was a highly concentrated version? Ours turned out sweet, not tart. We’ll experiment with some other brands and see if we can figure out what is causing the difference.

  10. lani strom says

    You don’t increase the orange but increase the peel. I am going for 8 servings. I want to make this for New Years. please help

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lani, sorry for the confusion. Unfortunately, we don’t have an easy way to change the amounts in parentheses. For 8 servings, you will use 5 1/3 Tbsp orange peel which is from about 1 1/3 oranges. Hope you love it!

  11. Anne says

    I love this! I avoid alcohol, and this just seems more festive and special than mulled cider. Plus all those health benefits! I plan to try this one!

    • Jessica says

      Making this now. It’s actually snowing in Seattle-a perfect day for a warm drink.
      I’m curious tho. The only tart cherry juice I could find happened to be Simple Truth *concentrate* tart cherry juice.
      I didn’t realize it was going to be kind of thick. I hope it still works out.
      I may have to add a Touch of hot water to the finished product.
      I am excited to try adding soda water tomorrow after has been cold and refrigerated to make a fun festive (sparkly) drink.

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Jessica, if using a concentrate, we’d suggest diluting it with water until it resembles the texture of apple juice. Hope that helps!