On a piece of cheesecloth or unfiltered coffee filter, place the cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice, and star anise if using. Tie the bundle up using butcher's twine.
Stove Top Directions
Pour the wine, orange juice, and cranberry juice into a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Add the spices, and cranberries and orange slices if using. Cook over low heat until just warm--about 20 minutes. Do not bring to a boil, just simmer over low heat. Discard whole spices and serve warm or chill and serve cold.
Slow Cooker Directions
Pour the wine, orange juice, and cranberry juice into the slow cooker. Add the spices and cranberries, and orange slices if using. Cover and cook on low heat until just warm--about 1 hour. Discard spices. Serve or keep on warm, for people to help themselves at a gathering.
Select a dry, inexpensive red wine. This is not the time to use an expensive bottle of wine. I like to use a Cabernet, Merlot, or red blend.
You can place the whole spices directly in the wine instead of using cheesecloth or coffee filter, just strain before serving.
Be sure to use 100% Cranberry Juice and 100% Orange Juice, so that the cranberry orange flavor is optimum.
I love the flavor that the oranges and cranberries add, but feel free to omit one or both. You can also opt to use them and strain before serving.
Refrigerate leftover mulled wine for up to 3 days and warm again before serving.
Entertaining Tip: When entertaining guests, prepare the mulled wine using the slow cooker. That way you can keep the mulled wine on the warm setting while guests help themselves.