Red Wine Hot Chocolate


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The ultimate holiday drink, this red wine hot chocolate is rich and decadent. It’s an adult hot chocolate topped with homemade marshmallows and a sprinkle of cacao powder.

Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

Sometimes the universe works in lovely ways. After filming my video for how to make homemade marshmallows, I was left with a crazy amount of marshmallows. To make filming easier (because marshmallows need to set overnight) I made two batches – one the night before filming and one on camera. That way, I could do the whole “voila!” thing and film in one go. Fabulous, right? Well, except for the fact that I had about 60 marshmallows and was scratching my head for things to do with them (clearly, eating them all wasn’t a smart option).

But the following day I stumbled on this article from TheKitchn about red wine hot chocolate. Say, what? How had I never heard of this trend and let’s be honest, absolutely spectacular idea? Red wine and chocolate….it’s brilliant. And even more brilliant? Topping said red wine hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. And maybe a dusting of cacao.

Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

Years ago when I traveled South Africa (a big wine region) with my mom, we did a port and chocolate tasting. We got little shot glass-sized samples of aged port wines along with chocolates of different cacao percentages. The idea was to figure out which port paired better with which chocolate. A 10 year aged? 20 year aged? You get the idea. But I’m such a lightweight that after the first two or three samples everything tasted the same, so I just drank wine, ate chocolate and became quite happy (and quite inebriated).

But my point with all that is wine and chocolate are a perfect pair. I actually debated doing this recipe with port (which I love), but port on it’s own is so sweet. And combined with the chocolate as a drink, I was concerned it would actually be too rich. In hindsight, it would probably work if you’re serving up mini 3-ounce portions. Sweet, but delish!

Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

For this recipe (which is probably more appropriate for holiday parties) I opted for a fruity cabernet along with a moderately dark (62%) dark chocolate. I also used dairy milk, but I think it would come out just as fab with my creamy cashew milk (or other nut milk/coconut milk) for a dairy-free option. I have yet to try that, but if you guys do, let me know how it turns out.

The great thing about this red wine hot chocolate is that it comes together easily. Just bring your milk to a simmer, add some good quality chocolate and whisk together until creamy. Then pour in some wine and a splash of vanilla. If you’re adding homemade marshmallows just make sure to make them the night before. Or, you could add a dollop of coconut whipped cream. And for the ultimate party presentation, sprinkle some cacao or chocolate curls on top.


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Red wine hot chocolate. The ultimate rich and decadent holiday drink.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

4.58 from 7 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This rich and decadent red wine hot chocolate is the ultimate holiday drink.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Heat the milk in a pot on medium heat until it's simmering. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until smooth.
  • Turn off the heat and add the red wine and vanilla extract. Stir together.
  • Pour into individual cups and top with marshmallows and a sprinkle of cacao powder.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 3.1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot chocolate, Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Mine curdled immediately as well. Flavor isn’t horrible, but not amazing enough to try to make it again without the curdle.

  2. Mine curdled immediately upon adding the wine too. Wine contains acid which is a reliable method to curdle protein such as milk protein and egg white.

    Another step is required to eradicate the milk protein before adding the wine. Or it needs further cooking or some kind of stabiliser to prevent this.

  3. This was delicious! I honestly took a sip before I added the wine and to my surprise enjoyed it like that more than adding wine 🤭 if you don’t have wine, still make this!! This was such a fun recipe and something I never would’ve done before, thank you! 

    In response to other comments- I had no problems with the recipe at all and used 1% milk.

    I even made the homemade marshmallows! They’re great!! It’s a recipe I didn’t know I needed. Yes, homemade marshmallows are worth it. 

  4. Everything else I’ve tried on this site is incredible (especially the brownies and lemon bars!), and I constantly share the blueberry muffin recipe. This one wasn’t my favorite; we had trouble with it curdling and separating. I feel like there might an ideal wine to use (we used a red wine), or maybe even a non-dairy milk option that might work better than what we tried (we used lactose-free 2% milk). I love the idea of making a hot chocolate wine though! We just didn’t have the best of luck personally.2 stars

    1. Hi Maddy – oh no, sorry to hear this recipe didn’t turn out for you. I haven’t tested this recipe with a lactose-free milk, but I’m wondering if that may have contributed to the curdling? I’ll try to test that in the future. Glad you enjoy all of my other recipes!

  5. I just made this and as soon as I added the red wine it separated. Was this supposed to be skim milk? Is there a way to prevent it from curdling because I made it exactly as specified. It was good after I strained it.

    1. Hi Nicole – I’ve never had any issues with it curdling, so I’m not sure. But glad it turned out for you in the end!

  6. Dear Lisa,

    There is no “port” wine but a geographic mark well known around the word called Porto wine originally and still manufactured by authorised wineries in the ancient region of the maritime and old city called Porto in Portugal.

    It a protected geographic mark. It is confusing to read “port” associated to the country South Africa which has distinguished and respected wineries.

    1. Hi Anna – you’re right! It was actually a brandy and chocolate tasting I did, not port. I guess I must have had port on the brain while I was writing this post. ;) I’ll have to fix that.

  7. Red wine hot chocolate?! Come on life, this is just too much. I would love to do this for girls night at my house! Awesome.5 stars

  8. Such perfect timing. I just opened a bottle of red last night and I have about half a bottle sitting in the fridge. I’ll be making some hot chocolate tonight. :)5 stars

  9. It’s about 100 degrees in the shade here in sunny Florida–but that’s not stopping me from attempting to make this awesome recipe! So excited to try something different. I will let you know what I think after I make them this week.5 stars