Mulled Wine Mocktail
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Recipe courtesy of Kenya Parham and Tonya Hopkins

Amazing Hibiscus Mulled Wine Mocktail and Kwanzaa Mimosa 

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes steeping time)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
This mulled wine mocktail is a deliciously spiced blended beverage of African teas (red rooibos and bissap--or hibiscus) and ripe red fruit (tart cherry) yielding a seasonally appropriate (and culturally significant!) deep red color with aromatics of Ancient Africa (clove, pepper, ashanti pepper). I created this flavor-filled potion for Kwanzaa’s many planned (and improvised!) multigenerational gatherings of family and friends over the course of the holiday’s seven days and six nights. A reclamation of colonized, classic holiday season spices with both warming and healing properties, it’s a lovely ancestrally inspired aftercomer to the Christmas Eve and Day tradition of our Dad’s signature spiced hot cider. It looks and smells so amazing while being made that I love ladling steamy servings straight from the pot it just simmered up in. But because the flavors only get better each day, I suggest you also make a big enough batch for reheating in the days ahead--AND so it can morph from hot mocktail to a chilled cocktail (a Kwanzaa mimosa!)--complete with a zawadi (gift) cube! You’ll also be ready with two options for the kikombe cha umoja (unity cup) when it’s time for the holiday’s libations ceremonies. 


Amazing Hibiscus Mulled Wine Mocktail:

Kwanzaa Mimosa:


  1. For the amazing hibiscus mulled wine mocktail: Add 4 cups water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, then add the dried cherries, cloves, ashanti pepper, black peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon sticks, ginger and nutmeg (see Cook's Note). Let simmer until the mixture is aromatic, about 1 hour. 
  2. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Turn off the heat, then add the hibiscus flowers, rooibos tea and orange peel. Cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate container. Reheat gently until warm just before serving, then pour into heatproof cups or mugs. Garnish with the citrus wheels and serve immediately.  
  4. For the Kwanzaa mimosa: Make zawadi cubes by placing a piece of crystalized ginger into each compartment of an ice mold, then filling the ice mold with some of the mulled wine mocktail mixture. Freeze until solid. 
  5. Fill each cocktail glass with 1 ounce spirit, 1 teaspoon amber maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon lime juice and stir to combine. Drop a frozen zawadi cube into the cocktail glass, top it off with sparkling rosé and wait for your Kwanzaa gift to be revealed! Sip your Kwanzaa mimosa responsibly ;-).

Cook’s Note

Each spice ingredient can be dialed up or down according to personal preference. Do not boil or overcook the mixture to maintain color vibrancy.