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  • Barbara V Adams M.

Glühwein history and a recipe to make it at home!

By now we are all familiar with the Christmas markets and their vast range of food, drinks and activities. One famous drink that you will see all around you throughout the winter is Glühwein!

But what is Glühwein? Where does it come from and why is it so famous in Germany? Well, here’s the history of Glühwein, Germany’s favourite Christmas drink.

To start making things a bit easier, we can first do a little translation of the word. Glühwein translates to "glow wine" or "smouldering-wine", from the temperature the wine is heated to.

Some of the oldest documented Glühwein tankards is attributed to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman who was the first grower of Riesling grapes. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard is dated to c. 1420. The majority of the recipes have remained the same since the drink’s early days where a base of red wine is combined with the popular spices of the season, including citrus, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and vanilla, all sweetened with sugar. Sometimes the drink is consumed mit Schuss – that’s with a shot, usually of rum, amaretto or other liquor.

Now, how do we make it a home?

You can easily buy an already made Glühwein bottle in the supermarket if you don’t feel inspired or you want to speed things up.

If you want to make it a little nicer looking, you can add some slices of orange, a couple of anise stars and some cranberries.

DIY Glühwein

If you decide to go the extra mile and prepare it at home, here are the ingredients you are gonna need:

  • A bottle of red wine (750ml)

  • 1 orange, halved and sliced

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 200g caster sugar

  • 20 whole cloves

  • 2 cinnamon stick

  • 2 whole anise stars

  • Rum or amaretto, for serving (optional)

Repeat the above recipe as many times as needed for a good time ;)

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Glühwein is not exactly rocket science, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. The first and most important rule? Do not let the wine boil or you will boil off the alcohol! Any dry red wine, from Chianti to Cabernet Sauvignon, will work, you can use cheap wine for this!

Step one - Combine the water and sugar in a large and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the heat and add the cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest, and orange juice. Simmer until a fragrant syrup forms, about 1 minute.

Step two - Reduce the heat further and add the wine. Let it barely simmer for at least 20 minutes but up to a few hours. Keep an eye out so that it doesn't reach a full simmer.

Step three - Strain and serve in small mugs, adding a shot of rum or amaretto and garnishing with the orange peel and star anise if desired.

Mulled wine has for sure many variations and is present in different cultures in parts of Scandinavia to France, the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy. But it surely has a special effect when you are drinking it on your way around the German Christmas markets.

Remember: If you want to find someone to share a Moment with and have a Glühwein night, you can create a Moment with our app and find people to do it with.


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