Slow Cooker Spiced Wine
The French have developed my preferred method to beat the biting winter wind: Hot Spiced Wine.
On 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.
The 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.
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.
To 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.
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.
Don’t miss these other warm winter drink recipes!
Slow Cooker Spiced Wine
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 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
- 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.
- 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.