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Vin Chaud recipe from France

Woman holds a glass of steaming mulled wine with spices and fruit

The most sensational, lush, delectable French mulled wine, deep ruby red, spicy and deliciously warming, this recipe outranks all others…

This vin chaud recipe takes a somewhat different approach to flavouring the wine compared to other recipes. Instead of simmering the wine with the mulling spices, leave it to steep for three days along with the spices, pureed apple, honey, marmalade and France’s unique Picon Biére liqueur (a bittersweet liqueur flavoured with orange and herbs). You could also use Cointreau or Armagnac a l’Orange. The process of soaking lets the flavours slowly infuse into the wine. This eliminates the need for a lot of heating which can evaporate the alcohol (which you certainly don’t want). It can also bring out bitter and other unwanted flavours from the spices and wine. Try this recipe. You won’t regret it.

Ingredients for Alsatian vin chaud

1 bottle Alsatian Pinot Noir or other light, fruity Pinot Noir. You can also use a fruity Merlot, Beaujolais, or Syrah
50 ml Picon Biére (a liqueur from France) or half the amount of Cointreau, or Armagnac a l’Orange (both of which are stronger)
2 Tablespoons of honey
2 Tablespoons of orange marmalade

Apple paste:

1 large apple
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Quatre épices * (a traditional French mix of four or five spices):

1 Teaspoon white pepper
1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves
Optional: cinnamon stick and/or star anise pod


1. Prepare the apple paste. Cut apple into small pieces and add to a small pot with 2-3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon honey. Cover and simmer until soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Turn the softened apples into a paste by mashing or using a food processor.

3. To make quatre épices, grind the spices and mix together.

4. In a pot, mix together the wine, 3 tablespoons of the apple paste, 2 tablespoons each of marmalade and honey, 50 ml of Picon and 1-2 teaspoons of the spice mix. You can adjust the amount of spices, honey and marmalade according to the level of spiciness and sweetness you like.

5. Cover and leave for 3 days. This lets all the flavours soak in.

6. When ready to drink, heat wine on low, but do not let boil. Serve hot in mugs, straining out the spices and pulp if you like. If you just can’t stand to wait for three days, enjoy right away by warming wine on very low heat for 20-30 minutes and serving immediately.

* The quatre épices spices amounts are not set in stone. There are numerous variations and you might be able to find it sold as a pre-made mix. Feel free to adjust. Some mixes include more or less white pepper (or use black pepper) and some include cinnamon and star anise.

How to make spiced mulled pears

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