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Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Clear glass mug of Red Wine Hot Chocolate on a white saucer with chocolate chips
Recipe At-A-Glance
Vegetarian, Holidays5 minutes
Red Wine Hot Chocolate is rich, chocolatey, and gloriously boozy. It's the perfect snow day treat for adults!

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We live out in the middle of nowhere. Like, so far out in the middle of nowhere that we heard sirens off in the distance the other day, and I tried to remember the last time I heard an ambulance and couldn’t think of another time. That’s the way we like it—nice and isolated.

We have next to nothing in the way of amenities near to us. We have a tiny grocery store in our town (like, smaller than most convenience stores tiny), a gas station, a couple of down-home restaurants, and one, um, rugged drinking establishment. We did get a RedBox last year, and that was kinda a huge deal.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate being poured from a pot into a clear glass mug

It’s all well and good, because we make regular trips to the “big city” to stock up on former city-dweller essentials like chia seeds and craft beer. The long drive to Whole Foods is totally worth our blissfully private life out in the country. And, we are fortunate enough to have one really awesome city-living attraction near to us—one of the best wineries and distilleries in the area is a whopping 10 minutes from our house.

People drive for hours to get there, but we can just hop over on a random Wednesday to do some wine tasting (and we have). They also have one heck of an awesome flatbread pizza menu. It’s nice to have such a high quality touch of city life out here in the country (and it’s always fun watching the city-slickers who drive out here to get back to nature).

Glass mug of Red Wine Hot Chocolate on a white saucer with chocolate chips

One of our favorite things to do at the winery is head up to their tasting bar and do their distillery tasting flight. We aren’t huge wine people—I don’t mind a glass every now and again, but I’d much rather have a good beer or a G&T—so getting to sip on all their speciality spirits is a really fun thing for us to do.

Last time we were there, when our bartender brought out the last item in our flight—a raspberry brandy—he set out a big pile of dark chocolate chunks for us to nibble on with the brandy. He said the chocolate really made the brandy, and he was right, it was incredible! That pairing got me thinking of different ways to use chocolate and booze together in recipes. That moment right there was the origination spark for this boozy, wine-based hot chocolate recipe!

Clear glass mug of Red Wine Hot Chocolate next to chocolate chips

This red wine hot chocolate is gloriously rich and boozy, but still wonderfully balanced. It has enough chocolate in it so that folks who aren’t big wine fans (hello, me) will still love it. It doesn’t taste like wine, it just tastes like a rich, warm, fruity (and, ahem, alcoholic) hot chocolate. Of course, you can highly impact the flavor of your mug of cocoa by changing what kind of wine you use. For a sweeter, fruitier end result, use a fruit wine (like a raspberry or strawberry wine). If you want something drier, use a merlot, shiraz or cabernet sauvignon. Unlike regular hot cocoa, I don’t think this hot cocktail needs any sort of garnish—no whipped cream or marshmallows here. It is gloriously rich all on its own.

I would recommend making sure to use high-quality chocolate—you can really taste the difference in simple recipes like this. My go-to chocolate chips are the Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet. I like that they are a top-shelf brand (or at least, higher shelf) that you can get at most “normal” grocery stores—well, normal if you live in a town bigger than the size of a postage stamp. Ghiradelli chips are pricier than a lot of the other brands in the store, but I think the difference is worth the money. Enjoy!

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Red Wine Hot Chocolate is rich, chocolatey, and gloriously boozy. It's the perfect snow day treat for adults!


  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Ghiradelli)

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (recommended:

  • 2/3 cup dry red wine (merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional (see notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the chocolate chips, wine, milk, half, and half and sugar (if using), in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is hot.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into mugs and serve


If you'll need to use the sugar or not will depend on the sweetness of your wine. If you're using a very dry wine, you'll want to add in the sugar. It's best to take a sip without the sugar, and then add it in if need be.

For a sweeter, fruiter vibe, swap out the dry wine for a fruit wine—make sure you omit the sugar.

Zest on a little bit of orange or clementine peel just before serving to really take this drink over the top!


Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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44 Responses
  1. Stepf

    This looks amazing. I am a huge red wine fan, so this is right up my alley.
    BTW, I mention this only in case you work with them someday, but you omitted the second “r” in Ghirardelli. You can feel free to delete this comment. 🙂

  2. Michelle

    Can i just say that I love how you always include fun, interesting stories and sort of “chat” before all of your recipes? I always read your recipes, even if it’s something I’m not that interested in (although don’t worry… I was interested in this one!). And I particularly loved today’s because my husband and I are hoping to buy our first house in the next year or so., and we go back and forth on whether we’d prefer a suburban aa (what I’m used to) or if we want to move out into the woods – which means out into the mountains here in Boulder. I think, because of all the things you listed here, we’re leaning toward the mountain life, even if it sometimes a little inconvenient 🙂

    1. Cassie

      Thank you so much! 🙂 And yes, I think there are positives and negatives to anywhere you choose—but I’m definitely partial to the country life! I hope you find your PERFECT house. 🙂

  3. Stepfanie Romine

    You’re so welcome. I love your site.
    I, too, live in a rural area, but we have two health food stores in my little town… so it’s nothing like where you live. We can get wine and, like you, have craft breweries very close.

  4. carrie

    I’m curious, how thick is this hot chocolate? It might just be my crappy eyes, but to me it looks very thick, more like drinking melted chocolate. Just curious if it is, or if it’s really a liquid consistency. Thanks!

  5. This is genius! I am a little skeptical about this combination, but I totally want to try it. Wine and chocolate go great together, so maybe it is not as odd as I think. Thanks!


    This recipe looks wonderful. I want to serve it with dessert at my upcoming wine tasting party. Do you think it will work if i put it in one of those hot pots. You know the kind you use for coffee & has a pump. It will be the drink we use with dessert at the end of the evening. I wasn’t sure if it will separate, etc. Thanks so much.

    1. ROXANNE

      My first home was a beautiful home my husband & I built ourselves with the brains & help of my fathe,r out in the middle of nowhere. Our jobs were over an hour away. It was beautiful, but we didn’t do anything there but sleep. Our son didn’t go to school there, & we never really got acclimated to the the area & our surroundings. It was a mistake for us. I now live in a beautiful home in the suburbs with a large yard. My son loved it here & I do too. It’s so nice to live and work near your home & to have access to essentials. In my case is was a hard lesson to learn. Good luck to you.

  7. Josephine Lee

    May I know what kind if milk u use
    Is it condense milk or fresh milk or some other kiND cause Imy so not thee going into kitchen kind of person. Hahahahah

  8. Liz

    This is so good!! I used dark chocolate-chocolate chips and La Vieille Ferme red wine. It taste so rich and smooth! No sugar needed! I did use vanilla almond milk instead of real milk which could have added a bit of the sweet taste. Love it! You are clever to come up with this perfect snow day recipe.

  9. Cindy

    I made this for our Halloween party yesterday. I used a full bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon and no sugar. Served it in a crock pot. It held up well and tasted great. Very rich though, so serve in small cups!

  10. Laura

    Super excited to try this…it just started snowing! I got my red wine out, measuring cup, and someone got to the chocolate last night so I will have to wait but will get enough to make a cookie as well.

  11. Laura

    I left out the half and half, just used milk, kisses, wine, vanilla, sugar….it was very rich and overpowering…..I love red wine but decided to switch to just that for my firepit evening.

    1. Cassie

      I haven’t tried it, but I would think the full fat coconut milk (in the can) would work to replace the thickness—although it will give it a coconut flavor.

  12. jim

    2/3 cup of chocolate chips seems excessive for less than 2 cups of liquid.
    I have made a full crock pot of hot chocolate. I used 2 cups of chocolate chips and that was extremely rich.

  13. Breanna

    This drink is kind of sensual. 🙂 I made this with almond milk, a Lindt dark chocolate bar (70%), and some Malbec red wine and I loved it. It was creamy and just rich enough. I’ll be making it again.

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