Best German mulled wine or “Glühwein” recipe for cold winter nights

by Dec 21, 2020Recipes

Dr Whoo And Herr Widderstein Drinking Gluhwein

Nothing is cozier or more warming than a mug of hot German mulled wine, known in Germany as Glühwein. Popular at traditional German Christmas markets you can also buy it premixed outside of Germany, but if you want true depth of flavor and fresh spices, follow my Glühwein recipe to make the best mulled wine you’ve ever had.


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Coming from a small town in Central California, hot mulled wine was not anywhere on my radar. Hot cider wasn’t even a concept. Then I went to Germany for a year at Heidelberg University and my concept of hot, wintry beverages was tossed upside down. I discovered the heartwarming, winter delight of “Glühwein,” or German-style hot mulled wine.

Oh boy did I…. On one student field trip to the Romantic Road area and the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, renowned for its Christmas market, a fellow student and I wandered the snowy streets and Christmas market booths, breathing in deeply the smells of cinnamon, spice, wine and all that’s nice. The mission we had accepted was to taste-taste as many versions of hot German mulled wine as we could. I don’t remember the bus ride back to Heidelberg. But after that many warm cups of hot mulled wine at a festive German Christmas market, did you expect otherwise?

Christmas markets have always held a special place in my heart since that first year abroad in Germany, prompting bittersweet memories of sometimes wandering them alone as well as joyful memories of friendship and how I also became acquainted with the yum of roasted chestnuts at these markets. The perfect winter gander through a Christmas market of course includes nestling a paper cone filled with hot roasted chestnuts in your pocket while hugging a cup of hot German-style spiced mulled wine to your chest, warming your fingers and letting the smells of spiced red wine waft into your nose.

Therese drinking German mulled wine in Berlin Christmas

Certainly, over the years, European Christmas markets have expanded their menus of hot holiday drinks, but nothing beats a classic German-style hot spiced mulled wine, or Glühwein, to warm your fingers and of course the cockles of your heart, too.

No winter is complete at our house without a batch or two of hot mulled wine but buying a premixed bottle just wasn’t going to give me the depth of flavor and spices I remember. Meaning I had to come up with my own Glühwein recipe so I could drink up yummy spiced hot mulled wine whenever I wanted. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Acknowledgements: Story by Therese Iknoian; Photos by M more...
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