The wonderful aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and other aromatic spices adorns this French mulled wine (vin chaud) recipe. Warm, soothing and delicious, this delightful winter beverage hits all the right notes.
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Different cultures have their versions of mulled wine, each normally served around the Christmas holidays, and each with its unique blend of spices and flavors.
One of the most beloved variations is the German Glühwein, known for its rich, spiced profile. The French version Vin Chaud, is also as tasty and a delightful Christmas market favorite.
And while there are many recipes of this hot wine out there, this particular version, includes aromatic vanilla.
The most important ingredient for making mulled wine is of-course, the wine. Go for fruity, and full-bodied red wine varieties. Merlot, Grenache, Syrah (Shiraz), Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais and Cabernet Sauvignon are all great options.
Avoid using extremely expensive or complex wines. You want a wine that is pleasant to drink on its own, but can harmonize with the sugar and spices without causing a headache the next day. Or at least much of a headache.
Sugar softens the tannis and makes the wine sweeter. Citrus fruits (oranges in this case) add freshness, aroma, and enhance the flavor. Here, a combination of oranges and lemon works fine as well so go ahead and use this, if you prefer.
You will also need one vanilla pod, some fresh ginger and a couple of whole winter spices. Cinnamon sticks, cardamon, star anise, and nutmeg are the basic spices. But don't be afraid to make this recipe your own.
how to make it
- Prepare your citrus: Start by thoroughly washing your oranges. Squeeze out the juice and reserve the leftover orange pieces.
- Start with the wine: In a large pot, combine red wine, orange pieces, sugar and fresh ginger.
- Combine: Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring gently to ensure the sugar fully dissolves.
- Add spices: Split the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add both the seeds and the pod, along with the remaining spices, to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the spices to infuse their aromatic flavors. Warm it to a temperature of between 72°C and 75°C. Do not boil it to avoid the alcohol from evaporating.
- Sieve: Once it starts forming scum at the top, remove the pot from the heat. Strain into glasses using a mesh-strainer.
- Serve: Garnish with cinnamon sticks or orange slices and serve.
Quick tip 💡: In addition to the spices listed in this recipe, you can also use black peppercorns or cloves for extra flavor.
Serve Vin Chaud warm, but not boiling. It should be warm enough for you to sip on, without scalding your tongue.
how to store and reheat
Allow any leftover vin chaud to cool to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply heat it on low until warmed through.
more globally inspired recipes
Check out these other recipes from around the world!
- Mbuzi choma - Kenyan grilled meat recipe.
- Molokhia - Lebanese jews mallow with chicken.
- Butterbean and Potato Curry
- South African Beef Stew
- Beef Tikka Masala
- German Potato Salad
Vin Chaud - French Mulled Wine
- 2 (organic) oranges cut a few slices and reserve these for serving
- 1 bottle red wine (750ml or about 25 ounces) Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais and Cabernet Sauvignon
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 inch fresh piece of ginger (about 2.5cm long) sliced
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cardamom pods
- 3 star anise
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Begin by thoroughly washing the oranges. Cut a few slices from the oranges to be used later when serving.
- Squeeze the juice from the oranges, reserving the leftover pieces.
- Combine red wine, orange pieces, sugar, and fresh ginger in a large pot. Heat under low heat.
- Slice the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add both the seeds and the pod, along with the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, star anise, and a nutmeg to the pot.
- Simmer covered on low heat for 20 minutes to infuse flavors. Do not boil to avoid the alcohol evaporating.
- Remove from heat, strain into glasses, garnish with cinnamon sticks or orange slices, then serve.