Mulled Wine {Hot Wine – Vin Chaud}

Mulled Wine {Hot Wine - Vin Chaud} from The Law Student's Wife

‘Tis the season to be cozy. Toes wiggle in fleece slippers. Fuzzy blankets are places of refuge. Knobby wool scarves become more than a fashion statement.

While we’re donning our mittens, dusting off our Uggs, and debating the merit of earmuffs, let’s wrap our frosty fingers around a steamy, winter-spiced mug of mulled wine.

Mulled wine (hot spiced wine or vin chaud) is a French winter staple. To the unfamiliar (or to the wine snob), the idea of heating wine and infusing it with citrus and spices may seem odd, but this beverage can blunt the bite of even the sharpest winter winds.

Mulled Wine {Hot Wine - Vin Chaud} from The Law Student's Wife

Mulled wine is the essence of cozy: the oversized high school sweatshirt with which you refuse to part; your grandma’s homemade pot roast; crackling fires; rocking chairs.

It is a winter evening with friends, spent watching the windows fog and eating too many cookies. It’s outdoor Christmas markets selling hot roasted almonds. It’s cinnamon and oranges and cloves. It’s telling myself I’m going to be productive, then retreating to my couch with contentment instead.

Mulled Wine {Hot Wine - Vin Chaud} from The Law Student's Wife

Save your fancy wine for another night. In fact, use the cheapest red you have. Or use white, if that is what you prefer. The gentle addition of winter spices, fresh orange, and apple cider imparts magic on even the most “affordable” of bottles. I have made countless batches of this mulled wine over the years, each with a $4 bottle of Trader Joe’s Cabernet Sauvignon. A single drop has yet to be leftover.

Mulled Wine {Hot Wine - Vin Chaud} from the Law Student's Wife

Don’t let the season pass without preparing a batch of mulled wine. Whether you serve a small gathering of friends, a smashing holiday party, or a quiet evening alone, you will not regret a sip. I’ve spent years tweaking the recipe (a grueling task, I know), and the final result deserves a place of honor, right beside that high school sweatshirt.

Let Old Man Winter blast his chilly rage. I have my cozy in a cup.

Mulled Wine {Hot Wine - Vin Chaud} from The Law Student's Wife

Mulled Wine

Best recipe for mulled wine, also called hot wine (vin chaud) and Christmas wine. Authentic recipe with cinnamon, oranges, cloves, all spice, apple cider.

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 c. apple cider
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 3 T. honey
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground all spice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces (2 or 3 pieces should do it)
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed or lightly chopped
  • Additional orange peels, optional for garnish


  1. Combine the cider, wine, honey, zest, juice, cloves, and all spice in a large pot. Place cinnamon stick pieces and fennel seeds in a cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string or place in a tea ball. Add to pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and simmer over low for 10 minutes. Remove cheesecloth or tea ball. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each for garnish, and serve.

If you don't have a cheesecloth or tea ball, add the spices directly to the pot and strain the mulled wine prior to serving by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve. You can do this by glass as your serve or strain the entire pot at once into a pitcher.

Make Ahead or Storage Tip: Once cooled, mulled wine can be poured into a pitcher and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.

29 Responses to “Mulled Wine {Hot Wine – Vin Chaud}”

  1. Elizabeth O'Neill — December 6, 2012 @ 2:42 pm (#)

    your writing skills continue to wow me! so want to curl up with you and this cup!

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

      Thanks so much Elizabeth. That sounds like a splendid evening indeed. In the meantime, you should make this for your next girls night!

  2. Luv What You Do — December 6, 2012 @ 3:01 pm (#)

    I have been wanting to make spiced wine for weeks! This looks soo good! I have to make some soon (but also find others to share it with) or I could drink the entire batch : )

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

      I think you could probably half the recipe fairly easily, enjoy some right away, then cool the rest to keep it in the fridge and reheat it in parts over the course of a few days. I actually might attempt it this weekend myself. Or just enjoy the whole batch. I wouldn’t judge;-)

      • Luv What You Do — December 6th, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

        Good idea to store the rest in the fridge. It’s finals, which means I need a drink and will most likely be drinking alone…ha ha! This would be perfect for my mom and my baking date this weekend!

  3. Mom — December 6, 2012 @ 3:04 pm (#)

    LOVE your stories!

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

      Thanks so much!! We should make some of this over Christmas–I’ll do a white batch just for you :-)

  4. lauren @ la petite fashionista — December 6, 2012 @ 4:33 pm (#)

    I just discovered your blog & that you’re living in wisconsin too! :) i just moved to madison last year, love your recipes!

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

      Why hello fellow Madtown resident! Thanks so much for saying hello, and I’m so excited you found me! We are going to have to exchange Madison favorites. Also, you blog is totally adorable, just so you know :-)

  5. LaPetiteFashionista (@lpfashionista) — December 6, 2012 @ 4:34 pm (#)

    just discovered that you’re a fellow wisconsinite- just moved here last year! loving your blog and all your recipes!

    xo, lauren

  6. Kristen | Pixelated Crumb — December 6, 2012 @ 5:26 pm (#)

    Just this last weekend I totally wasted a good bottle of wine because I bought a little mulling kit from my wine store and without thinking, dunked the whole thing in and let it simmer. I forced myself to drink half a cup before giving up – it tasting like bark, not wine. So sad because I love mulled wine! I’ll just try your recipe next time! :)

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

      Oh how sad Kristen! Mulled wine definitely deserves a second change though. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

  7. angelaanotherbiteplease — December 6, 2012 @ 7:07 pm (#)

    I bet this smells so good!!! and I have a bottle of not so good wine that I’ve not been wanting to pour down the drain so this is perfect!

    • Erin — December 6th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

      Don’t waste a drop! There’s no such thing as a “not so good” bottle if it’s infused with lovely winter spices. Thanks Angela!

  8. Becky @ Olives n Wine — December 7, 2012 @ 4:39 pm (#)

    Oh this so reminds me of my trip to Switzerland a few years ago over Thanksgiving! Vin chaud and roasted chestnuts while shopping at the winter markets and festivals. *Sigh* I am going to have to relive those memories by making my own :)

    • Erin — December 7th, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

      Ahhhh, Europe! It makes me think of Christmas markets too. I did total memory reliving of my time in France while sipping this vin chaud. You’re a wine gal–you definitely need to try this! Let me know how it turns out if you do :-)

  9. Chocolate Shavings — December 8, 2012 @ 12:02 pm (#)

    Mulled wine really is the perfect drink to celebrate the season!

    • Erin — December 8th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

      Totally agree–I just can’t have it often enough!

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  11. Ashley @bakerbynature — December 9, 2012 @ 9:21 pm (#)

    Mulled wine is my life in the winter! Pass the glass, please!

    • Erin — December 9th, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

      Cheers to you Ashley! Couldn’t agree more–ordered a big mug while out last night myself. Clearly, I’m obsessed.

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