Mulled White Wine with Pear Brandy

By • December 29, 2010 • 33 Comments

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Author Notes: I'm a lightweight when it comes to booze, and I'll be the first to admit that my interpretation of a "hot toddy" is a little loose. My husband loves Glühwein (German/Austrian mulled wine), but he prefers drinking white wine to red, so for this contest I decided to experiment with a white mulled wine, amped up with pear brandy. I infused the wine with cardamom and star anise, which I thought would go nicely with the white wine, as well as the more traditional triumvirate of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. To amplify the pear flavor, I added a slice of Asian pear to each drink as a garnish -- the pear softens slightly as it absorbs the warm booze and makes for a yummy treat once you've sipped the last of the wine. - MerrillMerrill Stubbs

Serves 4

  • 1 750 ml bottle dry or off-dry white wine (preferably Riesling or Grüner Veltliner)
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 2 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup pear brandy (Poire William)
  • 1 Asian pear
  1. Put the wine in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the star anise, ginger, cardamom, cloves and honey (start with 3 tablespoons and adjust later if necessary). Set the pan over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the wine mull for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Taste the wine and add more honey if you’d like. Gently reheat the wine until it starts to steam, then turn off the heat and stir in the brandy. Divide among 4 mugs or heatproof glasses, putting a few of the spices in each glass if you’d like, and add a slice of Asian pear. Toddy away!
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Tags: entertaining, Holidays

Comments (33) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Serving this on T-Day when we return from our hike! Will make it that morning so all we have to do is warm it up. Oh heck! What am I thinking??! I'm bringing this in a thermos to sip when we reach the top of Mt. Tamalpais. Cannot think of anything more pleasant than enjoying the expansive views of the Pacific, the Golden Gate, San Francisco and Stinson Beach with this in hand. Perhaps with some of that ginger molasses pumpkin bread for nibbling . . . We do know how to live, now, don't we.. ;o)


about 3 years ago dianarose

This was a huge hit for my boyfriend's birthday! I added a tiny bit more ginger and more than a tiny bit more booze :-)


about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Happy birthday to him! Glad you enjoyed it.


over 3 years ago Jain Silver

Made this last night and loved how pretty it is with the star anise floating in the drink! Have to confess that I doubled the amount of brandy :) Thought the riesling would be too sweet but it was the perfect choice. Definately going into my rotation as this is versatile enough to be made into a sangria (a nod to the Florida "winter") as well.


over 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad you liked it, and great adjustment! ;)


over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Such a fun, tasty drink! We enjoyed it with Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries this afternoon. ;o)


about 4 years ago onetribegourmet

Congrats Merrill! Lovely drink for these cold & frigid days ahead!


about 4 years ago gingerroot

Cheers, Merrill! Over the holidays I discovered a lovely bottle of Riesling in the depths of my wine fridge - looking forward to trying this with it!


about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Bought some pear brandy today! I have an event tomorrow, but am looking forward to making this afterwards when I can kick back and put my feet up :-). I too am a lightweight when it comes to anything outside wine and beer, so this is perfect for me.


about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, guys, for your great comments and your support! I couldn't have done it without you.


about 4 years ago BubbaQ

I'm wondering if you could do double-duty with this and poach some whole pears in it for dessert... or would that cook off too much of the alcohol?


about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hmm. The only thing is that it doesn't have much sugar in it, and usually poaching liquid for pears is pretty heavy on the sugar.


about 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This drink is delicious! I'm somewhat ashamed to say my husband and I polished off an entire batch. Cheers!


about 4 years ago betteirene

I couldn't make this before the voting deadline. Here in WA, there are no private liquor stores; the are all "owned" by the state. The liquor store in the town I live in is, I am not joking, 20'x20' so only the most popular brands and types of liquor are sold here. I didn't give myself enough time to special order it, so my local store won't have it until Friday. Or I could make an hour-and-a-half round trip to a liquor store in Seattle. I'm so bummed.


about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

There's always time for a hot toddy!


about 4 years ago sabina

We had this on NYE and it was perfect. Thanks for the great recipe Merrill.


about 4 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

could you use a pear other than Asian? and if so, what would that be?


about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Any firm-ish pear would do nicely. I think a Bartlett would work particularly well.


about 4 years ago Midge

This is my kind of toddy, Merrill. Love the Asian pear addition.


about 4 years ago sabina

oooh, I have a bottle of asian poire wiliam that needs an inaugural pour. this looks great.


about 4 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Cheers! Looks wonderful :)


about 4 years ago pauljoseph

Yes look fabulous


about 4 years ago gingerroot the flavors here, sounds really delicious. Thanks for a lovely recipe.


about 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments. Cheers to a great 2011!


about 4 years ago hummingbirdap

I'm a lightweight, too. Anything with Asian pear, ginger and cardamom, I have to try!


about 4 years ago cbear1984

I'm in the lightweight club too! Plus, mulled wine is my absolute favorite. You got my vote!


about 4 years ago Dina Avila

Love the spices you chose. Perfect blend of light and spicy! This toddy gets my vote. Amanda's looks wonderful too, but just can't do the dried cherries.


about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm with you on being a booze lightweight--love all the flavors in this!


about 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Beautiful. I love pear brandy!


about 4 years ago Sagegreen

Love the Asian pear with brandy here in a Weisglühwein. How creative!


about 4 years ago Sagegreen



about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Sounds very delicious! Thanks for the recipe, Merrill.


over 4 years ago SallyCan

Looks fabulous!