Vin Chaud or Mulled Wine

This time of year while wandering the wonderful Christmas markets, you will find venders that serve vin chad.  It is a drink served traditionally around Christmas and in the winter months.  I love to wander the markets with a nice warm cup between my hands to sip.  This lovely winter tipple can be found not just at the winter markets but as where people go to do winter sports such as skiing and ice skating.

Wine was served warm as far back as the Roman times.  It goes by many different names, Vin Chaud, Glühwein, Mulled Wine, Glögg, gløgg, glögi, vinho quente, Caribou, to name a few Many countries have their own versions and all vary slightly.  The first recorded recipe for Vin Chaud was in 1390 in a medieval English cookbook.  The recipe called for a variety of spices including the following: cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom and it stated that Rosemary can be substituted.  One time the recipe has changed as has the name.  In the time of Charles Dickens it was called the Smoking Bishop, or mulled wine.  Port was added to the wine along with the spices. In an unusual twist the citrus fruit was roasted to caramelize and then the spices added. The Smoking Bishop was made with a Seville orange that was stuck with cloves and slowly roasted.

When done correctly, it is a lovely warm, mulled red wine.  When done improperly, it may taste bitter and unpleasant.  This is something that you can do at home should you choose, just make sure that you choose a nice wine that you would want to drink not mulled.  When choosing a wine, stay away from the heavier,aged wines that contain a lot of tannins, and instead choose a young, lighter, fruity red.

Different versions call for different alcohols to be mixed with the wine.  Port, Sherry, Vodka, Brandy, or even Amertto can be used.  The Germans call their version Glüwein and they don’t add any extra alcohol to theirs, so it is quite low in alcoholic content.  Children enjoy it while eating gingerbread.  It is wonderful that so many people from different countries have take the tradition and customized it to make it their own.  If you don’t have mulled wine at your festive events, maybe this is the year to add it.  There are so many different ways to make it a tradition you and your family can enjoy.