If you’ve ever been to a traditional German Christmas market, you’ve almost certainly treated yourself to a big mug of German Mulled Wine or Glühwein.
This hearty drink is perfect for keeping any winter chill at bay and is ideal for gatherings over the holiday season.
Mulled wine is also super simple and economical to make at home, so keep reading for all the details!
What does Glühwein mean?
Glühwein simply translates as ‘Glow Wine’ and if you’ve ever imbibed a few mulled wines at a cold Christmas market, you’ll definitely understand the name! There’s nothing quite like a hot, spiced wine to warm you up from the inside out.
There is a good reason that every Christmas market in Europe is selling some variation at Christmas time. Whether you’re drinking Glögg in Scandinavia, Vin Chaud in France or Vin Brulé in Italy, everyone loves this delicious drink on a cold winter day.
How to make German Mulled Wine
Making Glühwein couldn’t be easier! You simply need to infuse the wine with spices like orange peel and cinnamon sticks and a little sweetener, then reheat and serve.
I like to give mine a little extra kick by adding some rum or brandy, though it is optional.
To make my Gluhwein recipe you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- WINE: Don’t use your best wine for this recipe, a standard cheapish bottle will do just fine.
- ORANGE: Use organic or unsprayed oranges for the best and tastiest results. The orange slices will be floating around in the hot wine so you want them as clean and pesticide free as possible! If using lemon zest or lemon slices, be sure to remove any bitter white pith.
- SPICES: Traditional spices include whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. Mix it up and add different spices if you like. Cardamom pods or juniper berries give the hot spiced wine a really interesting flavour. Be sure to use whole spices as ground or powdered spices will give the drink an unpleasant mouth feel.
- SWEETENER: Regular white Sugar, honey or brown sugar are all perfect in this recipe. Maple syrup is very tasty too!
The full ingredient list and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Which wine should I use to make mulled wine?
Cheap stuff! Well, not the real gut-rot variety, but definitely not the top-shelf expensive wine. You’ll be masking the flavour of the wine with spices and sugar so don’t use anything too fancy.
As for variety, it’s best to stick with the standards, a merlot, pinot noir or cheap cabernet sauvignon or similar is best.
Can I make Glühwein without red wine?
What to serve with Gluhwein
PERFECT FOR A CHRISTMAS PARTY AT HOME
It’s great to make up a big batch of mulled wine for holiday gatherings. I like to put mine in the slow cooker on low heat which keeps it at just the right temperature.
I love Christmas cooking and over the years I’ve shared loads of recipes here on Days of Jay – click here to see more tasty Christmas recipes!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t drink alcohol! Can I make a non-alcoholic mulled wine?
Yes! You can either use an alcohol-free wine or use fruit juice and leave out the honey or sweetener.
Do I have to use these spices to make mulled wine?
These are the traditional spices, but you can change things up and add other aromatics like cardamom or allspice if you like.
Can I prepare Glühwein in advance?
Absolutely! Infuse it with the spices and allow it to cool completely before refrigerating. Bring the mixture to just under a simmer before serving.
German Mulled Wine Recipe
German Mulled Wine (Glühwein)
- 750 ml bottle of red wine
- 1 unwaxed orange
- 4 cloves
- 2 Tbsp honey or soft brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise
- 2.5 cm 1 in. slice of fresh ginger
- 2 fresh bay leaves, optional
- 75 ml ⅓ cup brandy or rum
- COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS: Pour the wine into a large pot or saucepan. Give the orange a good scrub then cut it into quarters. Push whole cloves into the skin of each quarter (this saves fishing them out later) and add to the pan with the honey, cinnamon, star anise and ginger and bay leaves if using.
- HEAT AND INFUSE: Gently heat the wine bringing it nearly to a simmer. When the wine is very hot, but not yet simmering, remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
- REHEAT AND SERVE: To serve, reheat the wine until it is nearly simmering, stir through the rum or brandy and ladle into mugs.
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