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Drooms holiday DIY tip: Traditional German Glühwein

December 15, 2022

How can you keep yourself warm and cosy throughout the festive season? The answer, according to Germans, is (literally) the most heart-warming drink of the season – Glühwein!

What does Glühwein mean?

The German word “Glühwein” literally translates to glow-wine. Why? Because of how you feel after drinking a couple of small cups. The drink is traditionally served at small Christmas stalls across Germany and Austria to keep people warm as they shop and socialise.

How is glühwein different from regular mulled wine?

When it comes to mulled wine, you can find hundreds of recipe variations depending on your location. Generally, it’s worth keeping in mind that any drink recipe is always more of a guideline than a rulebook, which is why every region of Germany has its own special interpretation of Glühwein. Locals like to experiment with ingredients like cardamom, vanilla, ginger, or even black pepper – each of which opens up a unique note of Glühwein. 

Here, we share the very basic recipe of Glühwein, similar to those served at a traditional German Christmas market. Let’s get to it!

What is the best wine to use for Glühwein?

As practice shows, when it comes to Glühwein, there’s no right or wrong answer. Any dry wine, from Chianti to Cabernet Sauvignon will do the necessary trick. However, if you have a specific personal preference – go for it!

The most important rule to keep in mind when start preparing Glühwein is to avoid overboiling the wine. Otherwise, you risk boiling off the alcohol and you don’t want that! Instead, heat it gently for approximately  20 minutes.      

What are the necessary ingredients?

1/2 medium orange

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar

2 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole star anise

1 (750-milliliter) bottle of dry red wine


Step 1: Remove the zest from the orange in wide strips and set it aside. Juice the peeled orange and set the juice aside.

Step 2: Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan of your choice and boil it until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the heat and add the cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest, and orange juice. Simmer and stir it gently for about 1 minute, until a sweet-scented syrup forms.

Step 3: Further reduce the heat and add the wine. Let it warm up for about 20-40 minutes. Please note, it shouldn’t reach a full simmer.

Step 4: Filter and serve your  Glühwein in small mugs ( the traditional German way), optionally adding a shot of rum or amaretto and decorating with the orange peel and star anise.

Screenshot 2022 12 15 at 10.15.46

Prost! Cheers, and enjoy!

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