Hot Spiced Wine

Hot Spiced Wine Recipe

Red wine and kirsch (a brandy made from cherries) make the base for this delicious holiday drink, a hot spiced wine laced with citrus and warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper.–John Besh

LC Tipsy Holidays Note

Your mother-in-law may frown upon you teetering around, a martini sloshing in your glass, slurring your word every second of every family function during the holidays. But strolling about with a glass of this genteel hot spiced wine? Sooooo much more socially acceptable.

Hot Spiced Wine Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 12


  • 2 bottles light-bodied red wine, such as pinot noir, gamay, or Cabernet Franc
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Strips of zest from 1 orange, preferably organic
  • Strips of zest from 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 3 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 1 clove, crushed
  • 1 star anise, crushed
  • 1/2 cup kirsch (optional)


  • 1. Place the red wine, sugar, and orange and lemon zests into a large saucepan. Tuck the crushed spices into a tea ball or a small square of cheese cloth and add it to the saucepan.
  • 2. Bring the wine to a very gentle simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the tea ball from the pan, and stir the kirsch into the spiced wine, if using. Ladle the spiced wine into heatproof glasses and serve at once.

In Advance Advice

  • The spiced wine will keep up to several hours or even overnight at room temperature. Reheat before serving.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Beth F.

Dec 09, 2011

If you want to take red wine and change it, this is the way to do it. However, beware. Your friends will drink it all and want more. Definitely add the kirsch.

Anne D.

Dec 09, 2011

I can think of nothing better than hot spiced wine to serve at a pumpkin-carving party on a cold, rainy October night. This was very quick and easy to prepare, and received rave reviews from everyone at the party. I used two bottles of a reasonably-priced pinot noir, threw all the ingredients in the pot and kept the flame low until the last ounce was consumed. I did this in my Le Creuset Dutch oven and think I might use an alternative pan next time, as I could swear I faintly tasted metal. Nobody concurred, but I think I’ll make the switch next time to be on the safe side. I also went without the kirsch, but will definitely use it next time. I think the added fruitiness will be a welcome accompaniment. In the future I might scale back the sugar to one cup and increase the spices just a touch — less sweetness and more spice is just my personal preference. All in all, the recipe is a keeper. Will definitely make again!

Leanne Abe

Dec 09, 2011

No more mulling spice packets! I was concerned the spiced wine would be too sweet, but it turned out just sweet enough to balance the spices and boozy warmth. If I had known how easy it was to make spiced wine, I would have started doing this years ago. Steeping the spices in the wine until the sugar dissolves gives you a subtle spicing. For a big punch, keep the spice ball in the pot as you keep the wine warm (if you don’t serve it all right away) and it’ll just get spicier. For a party, I’d probably just throw it all into a crockpot set to “warm” and place it on the bar.

Cynthia D.

Dec 09, 2011

Great holiday flavors. I recommend this recipe as a festive drink for a party. My only suggestions are: Use a cheap wine. Nobody will be able to tell the difference. Consider adding the citrus zests to the tea ball. I personally don’t like bits of zest floating in a drink, though maybe our zesting resulted in chunkier pieces. Try to serve the drinks at a hot temperature — it’s not as good when lukewarm or cold.


  1. The hot spiced wine is FAB-U-LOUS. I highly recommend it for home parties this season. I had something like this when I was a kid growing up in the south. They called it punch and that’s what it packs! Chef Diane Perkins

  2. I’m not sure if I’m missing this but where does the star anise come into play? Is it used strictly as a garnish or added to the pot while simmering? Also, I only have ground cardamom and would like to know what amount I should use to equal 2 cardamom pods? Thanks so much.

    1. Hey John, sorry for the confusion. The star anise goes into the wine with the other crushed spices during simmering. For the cardamom, I’d use a very skimpy pinch—far less than 1/8 teaspoon, as ground cardamom tends to be quite potent. You can always add more, but not less. Let us know what you think!

  3. Having grown up in Germany, this delicious hot spiced wine is a must have at every visit to on of the many Christmas Markets around. This and some warm Belgium waffles was always a special treat.
    Thank you for bringing back memories.

    1. Heidi, my pleasure. The One were supposed to go to Germany this year for Christmas, and I was so looking forward to the Christmas markets. Now you’ve given yet another reason to make it soon. Merriest of Christmases to you and yours.

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