Vin Chaud (French Mulled Wine)

Traditional vin chaud with a cinnamon stick

Moncherie / E+ / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
389 Calories
1g Fat
60g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 389
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 12mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 42g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 184mg 918%
Calcium 157mg 12%
Iron 2mg 8%
Potassium 801mg 17%
*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, perfect for fireside gatherings and après-ski.

Vin chaud is 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, and avoid dry, acidic wines or older wines matured in oak, as they may have heavy tannins that will become 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 warmed.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut or peel a strip of skin from the orange with a sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler, approximately 1 x 5 inches in size. Save orange for another use.

  3. Carefully remove as much of the white pith from the piece of zest as possible, since it will add bitterness to the wine.

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

  5. Heat mixture until it nearly reaches a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Do not allow wine to come to a boil, or alcohol will evaporate and the flavor of the vin chaud will be affected.

  6. The wine will be at its optimal temperature when the sugar has dissolved and steam rises when mixing spoon is lifted from wine.

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

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

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

  10. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of cognac to 4 individual warmed mugs or heatproof glasses before ladling in the mulled wine.

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.