Mulled wine—that sweet, heady mix of red wine, spices and fruit, served hot—is one of the best things about winter in Melbourne. There are loads of different kinds available, from the most basic spice-steeped red to brandy-laced beauties, but they all have one thing in common: they're delicious. Try a bar crawl to find your favourite kind—Here are some of our favourite spots for mulled wine in Melbourne.
Riverland's secret to success is pretty clear: a great spot overlooking the Yarra, a fun vibe, good food and a strong drinks list. The secret to their mulled wine, however, is just that: a secret. We can tell you it contains brandy for an extra kick, but the tight-lipped staff are not revealing the secret spice mix that goes into their addictive mulled wine, so don't bother asking; instead, mull it over as you enjoy your second, third or fourth helping.
Milk the Cow
St Kilda & Carlton
Wine and cheese go together like, well, wine and cheese, but sometimes even such a classic pairing needs a bit of spicing up. The cheese-obsessed folk at Milk the Cow in Carlton and St Kilda are well aware of this and, as such, are presenting 'Fondue Evenings – a Night in the Alps,' featuring Glühwein (German-style mulled wine), a guided tasting of European cheeses, and fondue. It's like wine and cheese, but hot. And spicy. And melty. And gooey. But it's only on for a few nights during winter, so book in now before we nab all the spots ourselves.
Carlton, Melbourne CBD & Toorak
Sometimes it's too damn cold to leave the couch in search of a warming cup of Glühwein. If you can persuade yourself to get into the kitchen, you can make your own delicious drop using Gewurzhaus's fragrant 'Glühwein Gewurz' (that's mulled wine spice mix) and a bottle of red. Chuck it into a saucepan along with some sugar, warm the whole lot up on the stovetop, and you'll have spiced up a dreary winter's day in no time.
Queen Victoria Night Market
There's no better way to chase away the winter blues than with a spot of retail therapy—unless, of course, that retail therapy is accompanied by a spice-laden mulled wine and some damn fine food. Queen Vic's popular night market's got you covered, with loads of stalls offering unique Melbourne-made gifts and homewares, a diverse array of dining options and, of course, the ever-popular mulled wine stall. You'll probably have to queue to get your hands on a cup, but when you take your first sweet sip of soul-warming shiraz, with earthy spices beautifully balanced by blood orange juice and a hint of chilli, you'll know it was worth it. Queen Vic Winter Night Market runs every Wednesday until 26th August, from 5-10pm.
Naked in the Sky
Think of mulled wine and you probably think of sitting inside a ski lodge gazing at snow-covered mountains as you sip the good stuff. Pah, we say, pah! Who needs to travel all that way when the view's just as stunning from a Melbourne rooftop? Specifically, the view of our fair city from Naked in the Sky, which you can drink in as you indulge in some of Melbourne’s best mulled wine.
If you've got 99 problems and finding mulled wine in Melbourne is one of them, head to laidback Collingwood bar 99 Problems, where finding a decent drink is never a problem. And if you have the truly horrific problem of not wanting a mulled wine, try the mulled cider instead.
The Old Bar
With its poster-covered walls, pinball machines and live music, this is the kind of Melbourne bar you probably recall from your student days—it's as comfortable as your old sharehouse couch (though a hell of a lot cleaner), and just the place to waste away a day in front of the cosy open fire, mulled wine in hand, while you reminisce about your misspent youth.
When does mulled wine double as dessert? When it's the choc chilli mulled wine served at Lane's Edge. We're not sure this if this rich drink is a hot chocolate with alcohol in it or a spicy mulled wine with chocolate in it, and we don't care—either way, it's delicious.
It's pretty hard to go past the cocktail menu at Cabinet, but if you can muster the willpower it's well worth trying the mulled wine. On Mondays it's only $8 (it's usually $10), so your wallet will be as happy as your tastebuds.
Most people associate the terrace at Madame Brussels with hot summer nights, G&T in one hand, chicken sandwich in the other. But it's also a great spot in winter—the chill factor gives you the perfect reason to snuggle up with someone special and order a teapot of mulled wine to share. This being Madame Brussels, the mulled wine's a little different; it's infused with figs for extra flavour, served in china cups and spiked with brandy to really heat things up.
Bar fly? Check out the 33 Melbourne bars you should have been to! Or our Fave 5 cosy Melbourne pubs with fireplaces!
Image Credit: Liz Loves