I once attended Christmas Eve Mass in an old cathedral built in the 1100s in Lausanne Switzerland. What I loved the most about this was the musty, mystical feel of the church filled with villagers in the cold night, the fact that I could understand much of the sermon in French, and the vin chaud (mulled wine) they served everyone at the end.
Being a new wine drinker, I’d heard of mulled wine but never tried it. This “warm wine” is heated and steeped with spices like clove, cinnamon and anise and then served hot, steaming with fragrant spices. It tasted like Christmas in a glass, but also of the vineyards. It was heaven. And I was drinking it in the perfect place.
I found mulled wine all over Europe during the holidays and through the cold winter months. It reminds me so much of winter holidays that I now make mulled wine at the end of every year, and into the new year too. I like to make it with local wines, especially young table wine and freshly-ground nutmeg to keep the experience original.
For a more modern, fusion vin chaud you can use white wine (making it more cider-like), add different combinations of fruit juices, grate fresh ginger into the mix and experiment with herbs to create different flavors. Make your own unique winter concoction and settle in for the winter.
Recipes to start: