Recipe: Sweet Summer Nights Hot-tail

Sweet Summer Nights Hot-tail

June 27, 2022

Here’s a wonderful recipe to warm up your summer nights—and it tastes as great as it looks! This colorful libation calls for mulled wine as well as vodka to give it a bit of a kick.

You can use any red wine though we suggest a Syrah or cabernet for their full-bodied flavor. Because it’s mixed with other ingredients, use a quality, affordable wine (and vodka) that won’t break the bank. We’ve also included an easy recipe for simple syrup so you can make your own.

For a bold look, pour this into a white Ember Mug², where the deep crimson color of the wine will really pop.

Drinking Temperature

Served at 136°F (58°C)


Makes 4 servings

  • 1 bottle dry red wine (like Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1 large orange, sliced (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 star anise (plus more for garnish)
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2-6 Tbsp honey, to taste
  • 1 cup vodka 
  • 1-ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1-ounce simple syrup (or make your own)
  • Garnish: 3 blueberries or raspberries covered in sugar

Music Playlist


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot
  2. Bring to a low simmer for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours (do not let boil)
  3. Use a fine strainer to remove oranges and spices before serving
  4. Taste and add additional honey if desired
  5. Ladle into Ember Mug²
  6. Add vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup and stir together with a spoon
  7. Add desired garnishes and set Ember Mug² to 136°F
A person making mulled wine.

Helpful Hints

Slow cooker mulled wine

Mulled wine can easily be made in a slow cooker. Combine ingredients and set to “low,” then simmer for 2-3 hours. Even if you make your mulled wine on the stovetop, transferring it to a slow cooker set to “warm” will keep it hot for guests.

Make-ahead mulled wine

Did you know that you can make mulled wine ahead of time? The spices will act as a mild preservative, so you can make a couple of bottles and keep them on hand for the next time you’re in the mood. Prepare the recipe as normal (omitting vodka). Allow the mulled wine to cool, and then use a funnel to pour it back into the wine bottles. Recork and store for up to a week in the fridge. 

A man fills an Ember Mug² with 1 ounce of lemon juice.

A fresh twist on Mulled Wine

Many cocktails combine wine, lemon juice, and vodka. We've found that this concoction works well as a hot-tail too! Lemon juice and vodka complement the red wine and fill this hot-tail with a touch of sunshine.

Garnished and Insta-worthy

For a lovely presentation, we recommend garnishing with 1-2 orange slices, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 star anise pod per mug. If you like it sweet, garnish with summer berries skewered and covered in sugar. 

Related Articles

Coffee Rub for Steaks and Burgers
Coffee Rub for Steaks and Burgers

June 05, 2024

Elevate the flavor of your steaks with Coffee Rub.

Read More

Baked French Toast with Blueberries
Baked French Toast with Blueberries

May 08, 2024

Sweet, doughy, tart, and delicious…Brunch is served!

Read More

Cultivating Joy with Brandi Sellerz-Jackson
Cultivating Joy with Brandi Sellerz-Jackson

May 07, 2024

Joy is a lifeboat for when we are lost at sea or lost our way. Here are three ways that I stay connected with joy.

Read More