Vin Chaud

Traditional vin chaud with a cinnamon stick

Moncherie / E+ / Getty Images

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
143 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 143
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 0g
Calcium 39mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Vin chaud is the French term for a fragrant and spiced mulled wine drink, similar to Swedish glögg and German glühwein. Although this warming winter tipple is often associated with Christmas markets and festive holiday occasions, vin chaud has also become a trendy seasonal beverage due in part to the increased popularity of winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. 

Vin chaud is a great addition to a winter cocktail party menu or any gathering when it's cold and wintery outside. It's simple to prepare, and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd. Be sure to choose a young and fruity red wine for best results. Avoid dry, acidic wines or older wines matured in oak, as they may have heavy tannins that will be bitter when heated. A general rule of thumb, as with cooking, is to select a wine that you would be happy to drink with your dinner—if it's not good enough to pour into your wine glass, then it won't be good when heated.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. With a sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler, cut or peel a strip of skin from the orange, approximately 1 x 5 inches in size. Carefully remove as much of the white pith from the zest as you can, since it will add bitterness to the wine. Set orange aside for another use.

  3. Combine wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and peeled orange zest in a large saucepan over very low heat.

  4. Heat wine until it nearly reaches a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Do not allow wine to come to a boil, or the alcohol will evaporate and the flavor of the vin chaud will be affected. The wine will be at its optimal temperature when the sugar has dissolved and steam rises when the mixing spoon is lifted from the wine.

  5. Maintain this temperature to keep the wine warm and let the wine steep with the spices to develop flavor and strength to your taste. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor.

  6. Strain the wine through a fine-mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined colander into a clean saucepan. Discard the spices.

  7. Cover the pan and let the vin chaud stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  8. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of cognac to a warmed mug or heatproof glass and then ladle in the mulled wine.

  9. Serve and enjoy.

For a Great Vin Chaud

Always remember to use a fruity, relatively young red wine. It should be of decent quality, but it doesn't need to be expensive. When preparing vin chaud:

  • Use a clean nonreactive pot.
  • Never let the wine boil.
  • Let the vin chaud rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with optional garnishes, such as 1 star anise, 1 whole cinnamon stick, an apple slice, or an orange slice.
  • Whiskey, amaretto, or Cointreau may be substituted for the cognac.