‘Tis the season for Glühwein! “Gluh what?” you ask. Well, come gather around the fire and let us fill you in. Oh and don’t worry it has nothing to do with the Elmer’s kind you slopped on the back of paper snowflakes as a kid.
The surest way to spice up your holiday season is to embrace the age-old Alpine holiday drink known as Glühwein (“Glow Wine” also called mulled wine). This cozy libation packs more Christmas spirit in a single sip than an entire mug of eggnog.
Made from the joyful tears of Santa’s drunkest elves, Glühwein is a delicious treat on cold winter nights. It wraps its arms around you and gives you a big, warm holiday hug just like that mall Santa did years ago.
The ancient Romans are thought to have been the first to enjoy Glühwein. As they conquered Europe, they didn’t just leave behind ruins, but also wine’s enduring splendor. Glühwein included. Germanic regions took quite a liking to this sweetly spiced goodness and made it a must-have during the holiday season.
Glühwein isn’t a drink that lights you up like a Christmas tree, but even the Scroogiest among us can’t resist the merry cheer found in a steamy cup. If you’re not full of holiday song by the last drop, consider yourself a stubborn Grinch.
How to Make Glühwein
Fortunately, you don’t need to raid Santa’s cellar to get your hands on this stuff. Follow these 6 simple steps to make Glühwein right in the comforts of your own home. In less than 15 minutes, you can ease into your chair by the fire and mull over the wonders of mulled wine.
Step 1 – Pick Up the Right Vino
Hit your local wine shop and pick up a bottle of red wine. Opinions vary on the best type with some opting for full-bodied reds like Malbec to others proclaiming bright and fruity reds like Pinot Noir work best.
We’re hopeless mountain lovers. We use Alpine reds from Alto Adige. A couple favorites include the lovely Lagrein from the award-winning Elena Walch and Nals Margreid wine estates. Not only do these wines make Glühwein fit for a king, they also pair exceptionally well with the Alps most hearty dishes.
Step 2 – Source Your Sweets
Make sure you have the following goodies on hand at home: sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and oranges. Yes, oranges.
Step 3 – Set the Holiday Mood
Learn German. Just kidding. We did that for you. However, it does help foster a festive holiday cooking mood to begin your new Glühwein tradition by playing a little traditional German Christmas music from South Tyrol, home to Europe’s most charming Christmas markets.
Of course if you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat, you could always spin this nifty holiday classic from Germany’s most beloved singer. Nothing says Christmas like the Hoff!
Step 4 – Fail to Prepare. Prepare to Fail
Grab a pot and prep the ingredients that you will be adding to it. This includes: ½ cinnamon stick, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 5 cloves and peel of an orange (¼ to ½ of orange).
Step 5 – Make Stove Top Magic
Pour the entire bottle of wine into the pot (it’s okay to lick the cork), add the cinnamon stick, sugar, cloves and orange peel. Bring the wine to nearly a boil. Don’t boil the wine though as that will reduce the alcohol content thus the amount of fun you’ll have by equal measure.
Step 6 – Begin Your Merry Journey
Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves with a fine strainer. Pour this new found Christmas magic into cups and serve immediately. Note: You can add rum or brandy to the Glühwein if you want to crank up the festiveness at your holiday gathering. But if sweetness is your weakness, honey is fine to add as well.
Repeat steps 1-6 as often as needed. Nah no one will judge you. Life is too short to deny sipping away holiday stress with ample amounts of Glühwein.
Feeling Fine with Glühwein
Enjoying Glühwein at home is an enticing way to the take chill out of any winter night. But more importantly, be sure to enjoy a cup or three while visiting a Christmas market. Drinking anything else would no doubt upset the Krampus lurking in the corner. Not a wise move.
If the thought of laboring in the kitchen to make another holiday treat sucks the season right out of you…don’t worry. Glühwein can be purchased in the liquor store. Just warm it up and serve the gift that will keep on giving.
We wish you a most Merry Christmas! Cheers!
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