What a great way to celebrate! Mulled Grape Juice is a delicious addition to any party, or quiet evening at home. Served hot or cold, you can add a little spice to your night without the hangover the next day. This is easy to make too, friends! Just a handful of spices and a 20 minute simmer and you've got a fantastic, warming drink for any occasion or none at all!
Grape Juice and Heart Health
The most well known effect of grape juice on heart health is its potential improving endothelial function and inhibiting platelet aggregation (1). The endothelium is the lining inside the heart and blood vessels that controls vessel contraction and relaxation, blood clotting, and platelet function. If you take blood thinners (or even if you don't), you might remember that platelets also drive blood clotting. The more they stick together (aggregate), the more the blood clots.
Grape juice is high in flavonoids and antioxidants, so there is great interest in how it might effect both health and health conditions like heart disease. To date, though, there is sparse evidence that grape juice has a dramatic impact. Studies show grape juice can increase circulating antioxidants, and lower DNA damage (2), and that it may be able to slightly reduce blood pressure (3). It's perfectly fine to include as part of your everyday diet, in moderation (a glass or two a day).
What we do know is that whole grapes are fantastic for heart health; improving blood vessel function (4), lowering blood pressure (5), and reducing inflammation (6). This is very likely due to the fact that the majority of antioxidants are found in grape skins, seeds, and other edible parts. Whole grapes also contain fiber, which surely contributes to the healthful effects of grapes.
Bottom line: Grape juice may be good for your heart in moderation, but whole grapes are even better.
Tips and substitutions for this recipe
These are some delicious ways to modify this recipe:
- Don't like grape juice? Try using pomegranate juice or blueberry juice.
- Hate licorice flavor? Leave out the star anise.
- Want to make it alcoholic? Add ½ cup of spiced rum.
- Garnish your beverage with orange slices and/or a cinnamon stick to make it fancy!
If you try mulled grape juice, don't forget to let me know in the comments!
Mulled Grape Juice
Include everyone in the celebration this season with delicious non-alcoholic Mulled Grape Juice!
- ½ gallon 100% Grape Juice
- Peel of 1 Orange
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 Star Anise
- 4 Whole Cardamom Pods
- 1 teaspoon Whole Cloves
Add all ingredients to a large pot, and bring to a simmer.
Simmer on low for at least 2 minutes.
Serve hot, or chill to serve as punch.
For slow cooker
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and turn on high for at least 1 hour.
Serve directly from slow cooker.