What is the best way to warm your soul on a wintry evening? Embrace the age-old Alpine drink known as Glühwein.
In this festive post, we show you step-by-step how to make Glühwein that wows you and your guests. In addition, you’ll discover the how to drink this cozy libation (also commonly called mulled wine or spiced wine) to fully savor its aromas and flavors.
In a holiday hurry? Jump ahead to the recipe, click here: The Best Glühwein Recipe.
Glühwein is an especially delicious treat during the holidays. It wraps its arms around you and gives you a big, warm holiday hug just like that mall Santa did years ago.
But you do not have to wait for the holiday season to enjoy Glühwein. You will cherish it anytime there is a chill in the air whether it be summer, fall, spring or winter.
So where did Glühwein’s heart-warming qualities come from? The ancient Romans are thought to have been the first to concoct Glühwein. As they conquered Europe, they didn’t just leave behind ruins and nifty hairdos. They also left wine’s enduring splendor. Glühwein included.
The hardy folks in the Alps of South Tyrol, Austria and Germany took quite a liking to the sweetly spiced goodness of Glühwein. Its warmth and cheer-inducing potency made it a must-have when facing the icy bluster of the mountains.
How to Drink Glühwein
Glühwein isn’t a drink that lights you up like a Christmas tree, but even the Ebenezer in your life can’t resist the merriment found in a steamy cup. The best way to savor spiced wine is from a porcelain ceramic mug or a glass crystal mug for a touch of holiday sparkle. Our recommendation is to use double-wall insulated crystal glass mugs to preserve flavor and warmth. Or you can select a vintage ceramic mug and let the world know you live like Santa is not watching.
As we point out in the below directions, Glühwein is served hot and should be sipped slowly just as you would with a fresh cup of coffee.
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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 – Find the Right Wine
Visit 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 of our 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, but they also pair exceptionally well with the Alps’ most hearty dishes.
Step 2 – Set the Holiday Mood (Optional, but Highly-Recommended!)
Of course, if you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat, you could always spin this little holiday classic from Germany’s most beloved singer. Nothing says Christmas like the Hoff!
Step 3 – Gather Your Sweets
Make sure you have the following Glühwein ingredients on hand at home: sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and oranges. Yes, oranges.
Step 4 – Prepare the Ingredients
Grab a pot and prep the ingredients that you will be adding to it.
Traditional Glühwein requires 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.
Note: For Santa’s sake, do not boil the wine! Doing so 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 conjuring of 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 greatest holiday weakness, honey is fine to add as well.
Repeat steps 1-6 as often as needed. 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 at your local wine shop. Just warm it up and serve the gift that will keep on giving.