orange slice atop a glass on vin chaud sitting on counter
Home » RECIPES » How To Make French Vin Chaud For The Holidays
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French Vin Chaud is served throughout the Christmas holiday in France and other parts of Europe. It can also be called Mulled Wine as well, with each country having its own version of this classic spiced wine holiday drink.

French Vin Chaud is a hot red wine served when the temperatures start to drop outside. People pour into the cafés requesting Vin Chaud. This hot red wine is also served at the Christmas markets throughout France as well.

There’s nothing like warming up to a delicious and flavorful glass of Vin Chaud to get you in the festive mood or just to warm you up.

This is the perfect drink to serve for entertaining as it’s incredibly easy to make. Your guests will think you spent hours on this festive drink when really you only spent 15 minutes.

two glasses of vin chaud sitting out on a counter

French Vin Chaud is also the perfect drink for a relaxing night at home or after a day of skiing or just being outside in the cold.

You can easily double or even triple this recipe as needed depending on the crowd size you’re serving.

There’s been much debate as to what type of wine to serve when making French Vin Chaud. Some say go with fruity and others say go with something bolder. I say go with whatever you like. Don’t skimp on the price though, don’t make this drink with wine you wouldn’t normally serve to friends.

I prefer to use a nice Pinot Noir in my French Vin Chaud, it’s not too bold but adds just enough sweetness and tends to be on the lighter side.

How To Make French Vin Chaud

Traditional French Vin Chaud

How to make traditional French Vin Chaud for the holidays.
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Cocktails, Mulled Wine, Vin Chaud
Yield: 6 servings

Materials

  • 1 bottle (750 ml)n Red Wine such as: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay, or Bordeaux
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon Zest
  • 1 Orange Zest
  • 2 Cinammon Sticks
  • 2 Ginger Slice
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 3 Cloves

Instructions

  • Pour the wine into a large saucepan and add the other ingredients directly.
  • Heat everything until simmering without boiling. Continue cooking at a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to stir from time to time.
  • Don't let the vin chaud cook longer than 15 minutes. Remove the spices as needed and pour vin chaud into heat-resistant glasses.
  • Add an orange slice and cranberries to each glass as desired.

Notes

  • You can choose any fruity wine to your liking: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay, or even a Bordeaux.
  • You could also make this in a slow cooker as well, follow all the same steps as above just put it into a slow cooker vs. large saucepan. 
  • You can add a splash of Cognac as well if you prefer. 
  • I make mine in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven but any saucepan will do. 
  • The orange slice and cranberries are optional but make the drink look more festive.
  • You also have the option of removing the spices before serving into each glass or leaving the spices in the drink. 
  • Some people choose to use a 1/4 cup white sugar in this recipe vs. the brown sugar. Completely up to you. 

Steps To Making Traditional French Vin Chaud

  1. Gather all your ingredients necessary to make the Vin Chaud.
orange slices on bread board with 2 wine glasses, and wine bottle sitting on counter

2. Pour the wine into a saucepan, I prefer to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven, it looks pretty sitting on my stovetop when hosting. Add all the other ingredients into the saucepan as well.

Saucepan of vin chaud sitting on the stovetop

3. Continue cooking at a simmer for 10-15 minutes but do not boil.

dutch oven sitting on stovetop with candle lit in the background.

4. Remove the spices as needed and pour the vin chaud into heat-resistant glasses. Add an orange slice to each glass and top with cranberries if desired.

orange slice atop a glass on vin chaud  sitting on counter

Toast and enjoy the holiday season. French Vin Chaud is the perfect drink to celebrate the holidays or even for a cozy night at home. Warm-up to this festive French tradition.

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