Snow with bisschopswijn

Dutch snow? Time for Dutch mulled wine: bisschopswijn!

They say we will have snow this week and this is good news, because if we are feeling the cold, we deserve to see it as well! So while outside it feels like the Antarctic, nothing will get you warm as much as a warm mulled wine. It can give all the warmth your body and soul needs, while watching the beautiful white scenery outside of your Dutch window. But did you think that Dutch have only the German glühwein? Of course not! The Dutch have their own mulled wine and it is called bisschopswijn!

The Netherlands, as many other Northern countries, has its own version of a warming, citrus and spice flavored wine drink. The concept of hot wine is thought to have been introduced by the Romans, who already heated wine fro drinking as early as the 2nd century. Each country used particular fruits and spices: the Scandinavian countries for example often add cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, flavors that are also found in their baked goods.

Snow with bisschopswijn

source: wikipedia

The Dutch call their mulled wine bisschopswijn or bishop’s wine. It is a red or white wine (please don’t use an expensive wine), flavored with oranges, cloves, star anise and cinnamon, and sweetened with sugar or honey. It is traditionally drunk in December, in the period just before and during Sinterklaas, but nothing can stop us from drinking it whenever we want to get warm. The drink should not boil during preparation, because then the alcohol evaporates. In fact, the wine should not even be heated to more than about 70°C because the boiling point of ethanol is 78,37°C.

Here is the exact recipe:


  • 1 1/2 bottles of cheap red or white wine
  • 2 oranges
  • 15 cloves (approximately)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • some star anise
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or honey

Steps to make it

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Decant the wine into a large, thick-bottomed soup pot.
  3. Spike the oranges with the cloves and add to the wine, along with the cinnamon sticks and the star anise.
  4. Heat slowly over very low heat for 3 hours. The liquid should not boil.
  5. Add the sugar or honey towards the end, and make sure that it dissolves completely.
  6. Remove the fruit and spices, and serve.
  7. Enjoy!