Smells Like Christmas

It’s not that cold outside in winter here, in evergreen Texas. Though we’ve got a pretty good snow this season, it was just for one night! For that reason, I count every chilly day to enjoy hot soups and drinks. They all are good, but mulled wine is beyong comparison for it truly smells like Chrismas for me because of spices combination.

Quick vs Natural Pressure Release

Do not, I repeat, do not drink this mulled wine during the day if you plan to do things. It’s a powerful way to release pressure from your life. This wine will make your head light, your legs heavy, your heart warm. You will want to sit in a chair, tucked with your cozy blanket, and watch Christmas fairytales about love and other wonders.

Pears Poached in Mulled Wine
Pears Poached in Mulled Wine

The recipe is not mine. My friend lured me into the Instant Pot ownership using it. He said it was the first recipe he tried from the book (Red Wine Poached Pears by Laura Pazzaglia on page 29) that came with the cooker and everybody loved it, asking to repeat over and over again. He and I do not follow the last step when the spiced wine is reduced to make a thicker sauce. Why bother, if instead of one delicacy you can have two — poached pears AND an excellent mulled wine?! I also do not use Quick Pressure Release. Instead, I turn the pressure cooker off and let it depressurize naturally, slowly, letting all vapors to set. Nothing escapes with the steam, all flavors (and alcohol) stay.

French Butter

Recently, I became a big fan of French Butter. (While writing this recipe, I decided to read more about this variety and found an article that made me laugh! I mean, with tears of sadness of course, because butter is the main ingredient in French cuisine.) About French Butter pears:

French Butter pears were discovered around 1820 in Boulogne, France. At the time, produce was given two names; one for a characteristic of the fruit and the second, the name of the grower who discovered said fruit or the place of discovery. Therefore the French butter pear earned the name Beurre Hardy; ‘Beurre’ for its buttery texture and Hardy after M. Hardy, the then Director of Arboriculture at the Luxembourg Gardens.” —

French Butter Pears
French Butter Pears

Mulled Wine with Pears

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time9 mins
Total Time44 mins
Course: Dessert, Drink
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: drink, fruit, mulled, pear, spiced, wine
Servings: 6 portions


  • 6-8 each pear French Butter
  • 1 bottle red wine Sangiovese, or your favorite
  • 1 cup sugar

mulling spices

  • 1 each bay leaf whole
  • 6 each cloves whole
  • 1 each vanilla bean scraped pod
  • 1 each star anise star with seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon 4-6" long
  • 1 slice ginger or galangal, fresh or dry
  • 1 each cardamom whole, black or green


  • Wash and peel pears. If you want poached pears to look attractive, they need to be peeled slowly, carefully, thinly, from stem to calyx.
    Peeled French Butter Pears
  • Prepare spices and wine. Do not listen to those who say you can make a good mulled wine with a low-quality wine. Go for a good wine.
    Red wine and spices: cinnamon, galangal, vanilla pod, black cardamom, bay leaf, star anise, cloves
  • Fill the Instant Pot insert with wine, add sugar and spices, arrange peeled pears.
    Red wine, pears, and spices: cinnamon, galangal, vanilla pod, black cardamom, bay leaf, star anise, cloves
  • Close and lock the lid. Press Manual and using +/- buttons set for 9 minutes pressure cooking time. When time is up, turn the pressure cooker off (do not keep it in a Warm mode) to let it naturally depressurize and cool down for another 45 minutes.
    Pressure Cooker Instant Pot
  • Carefully transfer pears into a container and strain wine. Discard spices. Gently reheat pears and wine before serving.
    Pears Poached in Mulled Wine


“Good Housewife’s Jewel” by British author Thomas Dawson in 1596 (h/t “British Food History”):
“Take a gallon of white wine, sugar two pounds, of cinnamon, ginger, long pepper, mace not bruised galingall …and cloves not bruised. You must bruise every kind of spice a little and put them in an earthen pot all day. And then cast them through your bags two times or more as you see cause. And so drink it.”
Mulled Wine by wiki
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869:
INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.
"In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, then serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean; they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose."
Does pressure cooking preserve alcohol?
Pears Poached in Mulled Wine