German Mulled Wine: Gluhwein

This easy and warming German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) is a perfect drink to serve during festive season. It smells like Christmas and serves a crowd!

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) contains all traditional Christmas spices as well as a fruity hint of citrus.It's very easy to make and it looks impressive!

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) in a Mug with Cinnamon and Orange Slices
Do you already know what drinks to serve on your Christmas dinner? Here is a creative option for you: German mulled wine (Gluhwein).

Glühwein (pronounced glue-wine) is sold on every Christmas market in Germany and all over Europe. Its spicy and sweet smell is associated with Christmas.

What are the origins of mulled wine?

The origins of mulled wine go back to Romans, who brought wine from the South of Europe to the North as they were conquering it. During winter, they heated it up and added some spices.

It’s no wonder that mulled wine stayed in Europe for centuries because of how delicious and warming it is.

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) in a Pot with Oranges and Spices

What’s the difference between mulled wine and Gluhwein?

Mulled wine is hot spiced wine. Gluhwein is a German term for exactly the same. However, they might not necessarily taste the same way because there are so many different recipes, spice mixes and wines to choose from.

How do you make the best mulled wine?

The best mulled wine is always the easiest classic. Choosing the right amount of spices (for YOUR taste!) and the right wine for mulled wine is the key. Spoiler alert: It does NOT have to be expensive wine. More on that below.

What are the ingredients for mulled wine?

Mulled wine is so easy to make and yet it’s so impressive and tastes so good!

To make mulled wine all you need is:

  • dry red wine;
  • spices (see below);
  • sliced oranges (and/or apples);
  • sugar (or other sweetener).

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) - Ingredients: Demerara Sugar

What spices are in Gluhwein?

Gluhwein contains all traditional Christmas spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and allspice.

The most important rule here is: Don’t add ground spices! Only use whole spices in your mulled wine as otherwise they’ll make your mulled wine grainy.

Oranges bring on a fruity hint of citrus to balance the flavor. You can also use dried orange or lemon peel instead.

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) - Ingredients: Oranges

You can easily adjust the spice mix to your taste by adding any combination of the following spices:

  • vanilla (pod);
  • nutmeg;
  • ginger;
  • fennel;
  • juniper berries;
  • chili pepper;
  • coriander;
  • bay leaves.

Each of these spices will bring on its unique aroma, so feel free to add your favorites!

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) - Ingredients: Spices

What wine do you use for Gluhwein?

The general rule of thumb in choosing the right wine for your Gluhwein is to make sure that the alcohol content not higher than 12.5%.

As the heating process and the addition of spices transform the flavor of wine, it would be a better choice to opt for simple light wines with fewer tannins like Merlot, Pinot Noir or Grenache. Bolder wines like Syrah will work well too.

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) - Ingredients: Wine

How do you make traditional mulled wine?

There is nothing easier than making mulled wine. Just combine all the ingredients (except sugar) in a big pot and heat it all up.

Once the Gluhwein is almost boiling, add sugar, stir well and turn off the heat and let sit for up to 30 minutes before straining. This will ensure that the spices infuse the mulled wine with flavor.

Hands Holding a Mug of German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein)

To make your home smell like Christmas, put your mulled wine on a really low heat and pour it into glasses as your guests arrive. Another option would be to make it in a slow cooker.

I guarantee, this festive and warming German mulled wine will hit the spot!

How do you make German mulled wine (Gluhwein)?

There are many varieties of German mulled wine: you can add brandy or rum, you can use white wine instead of red, make it out of cider instead of wine, add apples, lemon, raisins or ginger wine to enhance the flavor.

I’m sharing a classic Gluhwein recipe today that is super easy and foolproof.

German Mulled Wine (Glühwein) contains all traditional Christmas spices as well as a fruity hint of citrus.It's very easy to make and it looks impressive!

When you make German mulled wine, the only thing to pay close attention to is to not let it boil. Otherwise, there are no precise rules. You can add any other spices you like, any kind of alcohol or fruits.

German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) in a Pot Centered

Bruise your cardamom pods with the back of your knife. Put all ingredients except of sugar (or honey) in a pot over medium low heat. Before it starts to boil, remove from heat and add sugar. Let sit for up to 30 minutes, strain and serve.

To garnish, put a few orange slices in a mug along with a cinnamon stick.

To keep mulled wine warm for a longer time put your mulled wine on a really low heat and pour it into glasses as your guests arrive.

How do you make non alcoholic Gluhwein?

Non-alcoholic version of Gluhwein is called Kinderpunsch in German. It is also delicious!

Kinderpunsch is a combination of fruit juices (think orange, apple, grape, cherry…), spices and sugar or honey. Traditionally, hibiscus tee is used to give it a tangy flavor and dark red color.

How to serve mulled wine?

Serve mulled wine in glass, porcelain or caramic mugs with handles as you want to protect your hands.

You can serve mulled wine in mason jars with handles or use these glass coffee mugs:

Mason Jar with Handles for German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein)Glass Coffee Mug for German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein)

 

German Gluhwein can be enjoyed on its own but it is especially good with traditional German Christmas cookies – Lebkuchen.

German Christmas Cookies - Lebkuchen - Perfect Gift Packed and Ready

You can also serve Gluhwein with fondue, cheeses or appetizers like baked brie. I love it with this delicious vegetarian pot pie and barley risotto with mushrooms and goat cheese. Just try it!

Here is the recipe for mulled wine that you will make over and over again:

4.67 from 3 votes
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German Mulled Wine: Gluhwein

This easy and warming German Mulled Wine (Gluhwein) is a perfect drink to serve during festive season. It smells like Christmas and serves a crowd!

Course Beverage
Cuisine German
Keyword gluhwein, mulled wine
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 10 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.5 liters or 1.5 liquid qt dry red wine 2 bottles
  • 2 oranges sliced
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp allspice (9 berries)
  • 1 tsp cloves whole
  • 4 stars anise
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons Demerara sugar or other sweetener of your choice
  • sliced orange to garnish

Instructions

  1. Bruise your cardamom pods with the back of your knife. Put all ingredients except of sugar in a pot over medium low heat. Before it starts to boil, remove from heat and add sugar. Let sit for up to 30 minutes, strain and serve. To garnish, put a few orange slices in a mug along with a cinnamon stick.

  2. To keep the mulled wine warm for a longer time put your mulled wine on a really low heat and pour it into glasses as your guests arrive. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can add rum or brandy in your mulled wine to give it a stronger flavor. Add 20 ml or 2/3 fluid oz per portion before the mulled wine is ready and simmer for 3 more minutes. Another option is to make it non-alcoholic by substituting grape juice to wine.

Nutrition Facts
German Mulled Wine: Gluhwein
Amount Per Serving
Calories 10
% Daily Value*
Potassium 5mg 0%
Vitamin A 0.1%
Vitamin C 1.2%
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 0.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
German Mulled Wine (Glühwein) contains all traditional Christmas spices as well as a fruity hint of citrus.It's very easy to make and it looks impressive!
German Mulled Wine (Glühwein) contains all traditional Christmas spices as well as a fruity hint of citrus.It's very easy to make and it looks impressive!

What spices do you add in your mulled wine? Do you add nutmeg?

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Love,

Elena

Spices for German Mulled Wine Gluhwein Collage with Text Overlay
German Mulled Wine Gluhwein Collage with Text Overlay
German Mulled Wine Gluhwein Collage with Text Overlay
German Mulled Wine Gluhwein Collage with Text Overlay

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