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vin chaud: the quest is on.....


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to find the definitive way to make this warming delicacy.

Some years ago, Mrs Another (who was then Mrs Bluecat) gave me a recipe which was very good.  But, yesterday, I found some packets with all the spices in Lidl and I thought I'd take a short cut and just use some of the mélange.

I have decided that the least messy way is to put the spices in a muslin parcel and dangle that on the edge of the saucepan.  So....muslin found, little "bouquet" made and I'm about to experiment.

Just a few questions (as you'd expect from this less than clueless individual): 

how do you know if the wine is hot enough (I presume you don't actually boil the mixture)

do you add fruit such as oranges, lemons or clementines

do you add some spirit such as brandy to make the mixture even more potent

what hangover cure can you suggest should the vin chaud be so delicious that we overindulge

Please understand that this is only a dummy run BEFORE I make it for friends and neighbours.  I quite like my friends and neighbours and I wouldn't want to put them off coming to our house forever.

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The vin chaud we used to have in ski stations, was always made with a sachet of spices, contents unknown, but obviously the bars are able to buy them. I always add sugar when it comes and I like it, it is piping hot and quite delicious.

When I make it at home, I put clous de girofle in an orange or two and a cannelle bark thingy, in with the wine and a little brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon and then heat it to just under boiling very slowly and leave it on a very low heat for an hour. I reheat later. It is always good. I'm not a drinker, but I would never dream of putting water in it.

I've never put strong drink in it either.


In our village, they would make it with something like an Apremont, so a vin blanc chaud and that was good too.

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We served up gallons of vin chaud yesterday at €1 per cup for the Téléthon, with more brewed today. What I arrived to set up, only wine, canelle and sugar were on the scene. I rushed home for more more spices and bought some orange juice at the local shop; so there was also muscade and orange juice added. Later I added an orange and a lemon. I kept adding sugar, as the men around kept saying it was fine, but I didn't think so. Finally it was passed as drinkable, although by then at least a litre must have been drunk!

If they'd have been available I'd have studded the orange with clous de girofle, but there were none at the shop.

The previous evening, our local horticultural college students had organised an evening market between 17.00 & 19.00, which brought in several stalls selling lovely things such as bio frites, absolutely delicious chocolate coated figs, grilled chestnuts etc. The star of the evening for me was the vin chaud made by a couple of the male students. It was superb, with oranges studded with clous de girofles; I had 3 glasses, and only the thought of having to cross several roads prevented me having a fourth! Mind you, I had also eaten plenty of bio frites, chestnuts and chocolate figs, so I expect I'd have been fine with a fourth!

Definitely don't let it boil!

The ingredients available had all been donated by Carrefour (I'll have to get at the list before it's submitted next year!), which was very kind of them, and the wine was a decent red, in boxes from a local cave - Terre Eulalie from Bourdic. I was a bit surprised it wasn't just Carrefour's own mixture in boxes.

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I used to serve  a version of mulled wine which was warmly received, but which is something rather different from vin chaud.

I used equal quantities of red wine and water, so about 2 litres of water  for 3 bottles of cheap red (although a bad in box works well too if you want to make larger amounts)

I slice double the oranges to lemons (say 2 lemons and 4 oranges for 2 litres of water) and make up a syrup with sugar and the water which I bring to the boil and leave simmering. I add the  thinky sliced fruit to that and cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves (they can be overpowering) and a sprinkle of ginger, and let all sit on the heat.

I then add this syrup to the wine in equal quantities as needed in a separate smaller jug ( a litre usually) straining the liquid as I add it. The hot syrup heats the wine.

This way I can keep the  syrup liquid hot, but not heat the wine, which could boil off the alcohol, and I mix up more as needed . You can adjust the strength and warmth in mixing

My standard amount used to be 5 litres of the syrup, and of course it didn't matter if it wasn't all used.

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Strangely enough, eons ago, in my youth (mostly misspent, I know), I used to do something like what Norman did.  I'd boil up water and sugar, spices, lemons, oranges, etc and make a thick, gloopy concentrate which I kept in the fridge.

I'd add a good dollop of the gloop to the red wine which I would heat in a saucepan.  That way, I always had the gloop handy to make more vin chaud!

This evening, I put my little bag of spices into a saucepan of cheapish merlot with sugar.  But, when I tasted it, I realised that the spices were too overpowering.  So, I quickly removed the bag of spices, added more wine and sugar and it tasted great.

However, I am now left with lots of the spiced wine in the saucepan and I am not sure whether I could re-heat it.

Will have to think out another strategy for when it's the real run rather than just the dummy one.

BTW, I recently bought the biggest and most impressive soupière with its own louche (only 5 euros on leboncoin) and its own plate to sit on and I think using that as a vessel for the vin chaud would save my table linen (also bought on leboncoin) and, if I don't get a few compliments, I ain't inviting anyone ever again![:P] 

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[quote user="idun"]Yes, you can reheat it. In fact I'd bottle it if I

were you and keep it in the fridge and then heat a cup full in the

microwave when the fancy takes you. I reckon it should last at least a

week au frais.[/quote]

Definitely can be reheated, Sweet, as long as you don't let it boil.

You seem to have become a stalwart of le bon coin - lots of lovely bargains! I must try it some time.

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GG, I could make you a list of all of my leboncoin purchases but it'd take a bit of time!

Now, the purchase that you might find interesting is some handkerchiefs that I bought and that were sent from Aix-en-Provence.  They were unused, in their original box, and made of fil de lin.

I have never seen handkerchiefs of such fine quality.  They are a plain sort of linen colour (that is, unbleached) with a discreet self-checkered pattern and the edges are gently dyed (I say "gently" because the colours are not harsh and brash like that produced by some modern, synthetic dyes).  There are a dozen, so 3 with blue edges, 3 with pink,3 with lilac and 3 with pale brown.

I got them out of their box, washed and ironed them and they look so beautiful that I think it's a shame to blow my nose on them!  Perhaps I should send them to Betty as she is the acknowledged nose-blower (who can make the most noise) of the Forum?[:D] 

En plus, I got to "visit" Aix-en-Provence on Google Maps!

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[quote user="sweet 17"] I recently bought the biggest and most impressive soupière with its own louche (only 5 euros on leboncoin) and its own plate to sit on and I think using that as a vessel for the vin chaud would save my table linen (also bought on leboncoin)  ![:P] [/quote]

You and leboncoin Sweet [I] ! [:D]


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Sweet, those handkerchiefs sound lovely, and it's excellent that they were even in their original box. You obviously have great skill in finding such great buys! Not nearly as lovely as your find, but I have some very pretty handkerchiefs and have never used them - it always seems such a shame to spoil them!

I like Aix-en-Provence; we usually go there around now to their lovely Christmas market, have a nice lunch and a wander around. I've bought some lovely presents there, but we can't fit it in this year, even though we're staying on a little later than usual - we've got so many meals and events to go to that all our time is pretty well used up. Next year in Provence, as someone once wrote!

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Back to vin chaud, I need help and quickly!  It's become the must-have drink chez nous and, if I carry on like I have been doing for the last 3 evenings, I am going to be the size of a bus before you can say Jack Robinson (or whatever phrase of your choice).

It is simply the most delish hot drink ever and I love the way it warms you all up.  I have quite a bit of ginger in my vin chaud and I think the ginger is just divine.

Perhaps, like Loiseau said, I should dilute the wine a bit with water?

As for leboncoin, yes, that is another addiction which, fortunately, I am able to control when I see the latest bank statement! 

Just to jump topics a bit, I wish the exchange rate would improve a bit so that I can change more money but it seems stuck at around 1.23 [:(]

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Vin chaud is truly a superb warming winter drink.

 Size of a bus eh!!!!! well that'd be me, only I've never thought of myself like that. Not that I really drink, but I do like food. And vin chaud is only made when friends are coming round in winter, or I take it to a do.

Don't water it down, not now you've tasted the delights of the full bodied, stick with it and just have a small glass when you have it. Red wine after all is full of good things, so what harm can it really do.


You've inspired me. A good friend is full of cold and very miserable so I'm going to make some tomorrow and take her some. That should cure her 'cold' blues.

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