Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

The French have developed my preferred method to beat the biting winter wind: Hot Spiced Wine.

Slow Cooker Spiced WineOn nights when the cold nips my neck and threatens to settle into my bones, nothing warms me to the core like this richly spiced, aromatic drink. Also called “mulled wine,” “hot wine” or (in French) “vin chaud,” spiced wine appears throughout France during the winter months. To this day, every sip transports me back to the winding outdoor Christmas market in Lyon, where I first tried it eight years ago.

It was my last weekend in France, and my friend Megan and I booked train tickets to Lyon on a whim. We stumbled upon the Christmas market as the sun sank into the horizon and the night began to turn cold. Every booth tempted with homemade holiday wares, but it was the hot spiced wine that finally prompted us to part with our precious Euros.

Spiced Wine made in the Slow CookerThe spiced wine was piping hot, smelled of cloves and cinnamon, and tasted of the childhood nights my sisters and I spent singing unsolicited Christmas carols to our neighbors, drinking hot chocolate, and convincing my dad to light our wood burning fireplace: cozy, welcome, and somehow familiar.

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine. This is the best drink for any Christmas or holiday party. Delicious, cheap and easy!

Since that first sip at the Lyon Christmas market, I’ve taken to making spiced wine each year at Christmas, and it is my favorite drink to serve at holiday parties. I’ve tried many versions of the recipe, and today’s with apple cider and brandy for sweetness, along with star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves for spice is my favorite.

Easy Spiced Wine made in the slow cookerTo make spiced wine, choose an inexpensive bottle (Trader Joe’s notorious Three Buck Chuck works well for this recipe). Once the wine simmers with the whole spices, citrus, brandy, and cider, any “off” flavors in the wine dissipate, and the wine is left smooth and balanced.

Spiced wine can easily be made on the stove, but I also love making it in my slow cooker, especially for parties. The slow cooker keeps the stovetop free, the spiced wine warm, and is easy for guests to access for refills.

Slow Cooker Hot Spiced Wine

I made my spiced wine in my trusty KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker, which I’ve owned for years. I love the different heat settings, which allow me to alter the cooking time, the programmability, and the fact that once the timer expires, it automatically reduces the heat to “keep warm,” which keeps the food hot without burning it.

From a French Christmas market to your slow cooker: spiced wine with brandy, apple cider, and orange. Sip deeply and feel the warmth.

Spiced Wine

 

Don’t miss these other warm winter drink recipes!

Slow Cooker White Mulled wine is the perfect drink recipe for Christmas parties!

Slow Cooker White Spiced Wine

French Hot Chocolate. Classic dark European-style hot chocolate

French Hot Chocolate

Hot Buttered Bourbon

Hot Buttered Bourbon

Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

Spiced wine made in a slow cooker will warm you on the coldest of nights. Red wine is simmered with whole winter spices, apple cider, and brandy for a cozy (and addictive!) winter drink. Inexpensive and easy to make, it's also an excellent choice for holiday parties.

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine (choose something fruity but not too sweet. Merlot, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon all work well)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Orange slices, for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add wine, cider, honey, orange zest, and orange juice to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and anise. Cook on low until warm, 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your slow cooker. Stir in the brandy.
  2. Ladle into mugs and serve with an orange slice and cinnamon sticks. To keep the wine warm, leave the slow cooker on the "keep warm" setting. If your slow cooker does not have a warm setting, alternate between "low" and off.

Thank you to KitchenAid for providing the giveaway prize to the selected winner. No other compensation was received, and as always, all opinions are my own. Giveaway has now ended.

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

42 comments

  1. LOVE the idea of making a spiced wine in your slow cooker!! love this, Erin!

  2. What a great recipe for when you are having a party but don’t have a lot of time to spend on making drinks.

  3. Such an easy way to make spiced wine! I hate spending time on drinks during a party, love that I can get it out of the way ahead of time.

  4. I could see this going over very well on Christmas Eve!

  5. Vin chaud sounds so fancy! I love this!

  6. I love this idea of making this in the slow cooker!

  7. Love this recipe! I’ve always wanted to make spiced wine. So fun!

  8. My husband has been wanting to make spiced wine since September, definitely going to point him here, because this looks absolutely amazing!!

  9. Love this idea, I’ll always take a cup of spiced wine!

  10. I’m going to Paris in a month and I’ll be sure to try mulled wine! I can’t wait!!

  11. Love this story, Erin! It’s so great how a single food or drink item can transport us back to our past. I’m ready to cozy up with some of this mulled wine!

  12. I’m having a Christmas cookie party on Sunday and should totally make this and some cider. Yum!

  13. What a great idea for spiced wine in the slow cooker! I just want to curl up with this :)

  14. This is so lovely Erin. And food is always better when it comes with such great memories attached. This looks like it would warm me up down to the bones!

  15. I love spiced wine! I”m adding this to Pinterest now!!!

  16. I can’t think of a more appropriate winter drink! I feel warmer just looking at the pictures….Just beautiful.

  17. I love mulled wine.. doing it every year.. what a great idea to make it in your slowcooker!! Thanks for inspiring me.

  18. I need to make this asap! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  19. This is so gorgeous Erin, I think this would make anyone feel more christmas-y this season!

  20. I am looking forward to trying this slow cooker mulled wine recipe – thanks for all the recipes, all look good and instructions are great!

  21. Hi Erin! So I started making this for a party tonight and mixed in the brandy with all of the other ingredients instead of waiting to stir it in later…eek! Do you think it still will be OK? Thanks for the recipe by the way!!

  22. Does this still have a % of alcohol? or is it cooked out? Just for the pregnant women out there:)

    • This is a great question Melanie! It does still contain alcohol. I can’t give you an actual % because it will vary depending upon the wine you use and how long/at what temperature you simmer the spices, but there will still be some left in the wine, and the brandy stirred in at the end adds some too. Overall, it’s not super boozy, but it is certainly alcoholic.

  23. Made your mulled wine last night for a nice quiet New Years Eve sitting in front of the fireplace…it was delicious and looks to become a new family tradition! We had just the tiniest bit left over (maybe 1 cup) so I saved it and today poured it into a glass loaf pan, placed a pear that had been halved and cored in the liquid and baked it at 400 F for 20 minutes and made the best poached pears in wine for brunch! Served over plain yogurt, sprinkled with toasted, slivered almonds, it was delicious! Thanks for a SMASHING Christmas recipe!

    • Kat, that sounds like such a wonderful evening, and I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for taking time to let me know. Also, your poached pears sound absolutely divine. I plan to save some wine from my next batch so that I can try it too!

  24. maureen ambinder Reply

    planning to make this tomorrow for my Halloween dinner and will use my Tomasello spiced apple wine in the recipe! :~)

  25.  I want to make this so bad!  But I can’t find green cardamom pods in any of my local supermarkets.  Will this still taste the same without it or if I use ground cardamom?

  26. What a great idea–can’t wait to try this!

  27. Looks like the Ingredients I was looking for. Has been some time since I made this, I couldn’t remember what all went into it. My mother used to make something similar from her days visiting Spain and Germany. She would put this in a crockpot and we would go cross country skiing. When we got home the house smelled wonderful and the wine was warm and delicious. thank you for the tip. Will try on the family tomorrow.

  28. The opening line of the post bugged me a bit, because mulled wine is not a French invention (mulled wine actually was a Roman thing to begin with and is enjoyed throughout Europe during the winter)…but that’s me being nit picky. My husband is from Germany, so I’m going to be making some for Christmas this year!

  29. I’ve never bought brandy before. What should I buy? Any recommendation?
    I hope I can find all the spices at the grocery store. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  30. Hi. When you say ‘apple cider’ do you mean apple cider vinegar, or alcoholic apple cider? Terminology varies from country to country. Thanks.

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