Pomegranate Mulled Wine for my Shab-e Yalda

Celebrate the Winter Solstice (Shab-e Yalda) with this warm, spiced Pomegranate Mulled Wine. Keep it warm in a crockpot and serve it at your next holiday party.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with this warm, spiced Pomegranate Mulled Wine by FamilySpice.com

Next week, on the evening of December 22, the northern hemisphere will be experiencing the longest night of the year. With this glass is half full mentality, this could be seen as a good thing. But for someone like me, who prefers daylight to moonlight, I decide to look at it as the days starting to get a little bit longer beginning December 23rd. In Persian culture, the winter solstice is celebrated with the holiday, Shab-e Yalda. It is not as big of a holiday like our new year, Norouz (the first day of Spring). But it is still a very special time.

“In most ancient cultures, including Persia, the start of the solar year has been marked to celebrate the victory of light over darkness and the renewal of the Sun.”


Hmmm…  I guess I am not the only one who is happy to see that the days will soon start to get longer.

During the ancient times, Persians followed the Zoroastrian religion. With the days getting longer and the nights shorter, this marked as a victory of the Sun over darkness. The sun was essential for farming. And during the cold winter months, the sun was the one element that would protect the winter crops from freezing.

For me, I have found that my mood tends to darken during the winter months. I am definitely not a night owl. Just ask my husband! I could easily go to bed around 8pm every night. Here in San Diego, the sun is down before 5pm during the winter months. They call it seasonal affective disorder, or winter depression. Luckily for me, it’s nothing severe, but I serious do not like the shorter days.


Typically, for Shab-e Yalda, many Persians gather together around the korsi, a low, square-sh table covered with a nice thick blanket/comforter that would cover all sides. A small pan filled with hot coals is placed under the table, or for modern times, a small electric heater. Everyone would sit by the korsi and put their legs under the blanket and enjoy the warmth together. Fruits and nuts would be shared and hot tea would be enjoyed. It’s all about huddling together during this “dark time.”

Pomegranate is a staple for celebrating Shab-e Yalda, as it is readily available during this time of year. So for something different, I made a Pomegranate Mulled Wine for my kind of Shab-e Yalda toast. It definitely keeps you warm! Mulled wine is another great winter tradition, but this time from Germany and other parts of Europe. So why not merge the two traditions together?

I explained to my husband that mulled wine is like a warm, spiced Sangria. For my spice mix, I infused cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves with my pomegranate juice and red wine. You can also add peppercorns and star of anise, but that is too strong for my personal taste.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with this warm, spiced Pomegranate Mulled Wine by FamilySpice.com

If you do not drink alcohol, you modify the recipe to be a warm spiced pomegranate drink. Dilute with a little water as pomegranate juice is pretty powerful on it’s own.

Pomegranate Mulled Wine

A bit of pomegranate juice gives this spiced holiday cocktail a fruity twist! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 750 mL red wine
  • 2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, 3-inches long
  • 4 cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods


  1. In a large sauce pan over medium-low heat combine:
    • 750 mL red wine
    • 2 cup pomegranate juice
    • 1/2 cup brandy
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 orange , sliced into rounds
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Wrap in a cheesecloth and close with butcher's twine:
    • 2 cinnamon sticks , 3-inches long
    • 4 cloves
    • 6 cardamom pods
  4. Place spice bundle into pot and stir mixture. Continue cooking over medium-low heat but do not bring to a boil
  5. Serve warm after approximately 30 minutes. The longer the spice bundle sits in the wine, the more flavor your drink will have.


Serving Suggestions: Serve warm with pomegranate arils. For large parties, keep your pomegranate mulled wine warm in a crockpot.
Cooking Tips: If you like a lot of spice, add some peppercorns and star of anise to the infusing mix. Oranges used in this recipe are the Cara Cara variety, which has thinner skin and a slight tart flavor.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 11

Cook Time:

And, here are the other fabulous dishes my Persian blogging friends have created to celebrate Shab-e Yalda.

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2 Responses to Pomegranate Mulled Wine for my Shab-e Yalda

  1. Thank you for including recipe for non-alcoholic version of the drink. I never had warm/hot pomegranate drink and this is quite intriguing. Happy Yalda, dear Laura! 🙂


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