I just love the days leading up to Christmas! Christmas movies, music, and lights all make me really happy. After my time spent in Europe however, I feel as though I am missing out on one very important thing: Christmas markets!
The markets were one of my favorite parts about Christmastime in France. And the best part of the markets was the vin chaud: hot spiced wine.
I dream about it all the time… wandering through the market on a chilly evening with a steamy cup of vin chaud to warm me up, being careful not to spill it all over myself of course.
In order to fix this deficit in my life, I found a promising recipe for vin chaud and decided to try it out. One of my very best friends, Valerie, came over Thanksgiving weekend to help me recreate the hot spicy goodness. This is Val:
We went to high school together and despite living in different cities for a while, we’ve remained really good friends. She also really likes to cook (and makes delicious carrot cake!) so we decided it’d be fun to make something for my blog together. We decided on vin chaud since it seemed like a good way to begin the holiday season and it also reminded us of our trip to Paris when we bought some vin chaud and strolled through the Tuileries Gardens together.
There are many recipes for mulled wine out there, but this vin chaud recipe is extremely authentic! It tasted EXACTLY like the vin chaud I used to get from the markets. I couldn’t have been any more pleased!
First, gather your spices for the vin chaud. You will need 1 star anise, about 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, 3 green cardamom pods, 4 cloves, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
Before making this recipe, I had no idea what cardamom pods were. I found them at my local grocery store, and even though they were on the expensive side, I love the flavor and I definitely see myself using these again. Plus they are pretty strong, so a little bit goes a long way – 1 bottle will last a long time. Make sure to get the whole pods though and not ground cardamom because it will be a lot weaker.
It occurred to me to add cinnamon to the recipe, but apparently that is not very French and I wanted this recipe to be as close to the original as possible. That being said, if you are a cinnamon-lover, I’m sure it would be a great addition!
Now that all your ingredients are ready, add a bottle of red wine into a stainless steel saucepan. Make sure that it’s stainless steel because red wine could definitely stain other materials.
You could use any type of red wine, but a fruity one works best! We used a Red Zinfandel wine that Val already had. It worked wonderfully!
Don’t go out and buy an expensive bottle of wine for this!!!! A cheap wine works JUST as well so save your money!
Add the spices to your wine, along with 1/4 cup of honey.
Bring your wine to a simmer. As soon as it is simmering, turn off the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, reheat the wine until it’s hot and steaming (but not TOO hot), then turn off the heat again. Add 1/4 cup of brandy. Serve hot and cover the remaining wine to keep it warm. We added an orange slice into each glass to add a little more fruity flavor and it was a great idea! Plus eating the orange after it was soaked in the hot wine was delicious as well.
This vin chaud is seriously awesome. It’s the perfect beverage to warm you up on a cold winter’s night.
Vin Chaud (Hot Spiced Wine)
Adapted (very slightly) from David Lebovitz
Makes 4 glasses
1 bottle fruity red wine
1 star anise
3 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brandy
1 sliced orange (optional)
- Pour wine into stainless steel sauce pan. Add spices and honey, then bring to a simmer. Once wine is simmering, turn off the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes.
- Reheat the wine until it’s hot and steaming, then turn off the heat. Add the brandy and serve hot with an orange slice . Keep leftover wine covered to keep it warm.
I LOVE this hot mulled wine! If I close my eyes, I can pretend I am back in France, strolling through a Christmas market.