Nothing screams more Christmas atmosphere like sipping a traditional spicy Gluhwein. Gluhwein is a traditional German and Austrian winter-drink made of spiced wine, orange juice, brandy, and sugar. It is an ideal grown-up cocktail to warm up after the slopes at one of the huts.
We adore this spicy/sweet ‘warm wine’ on evenings before Christmas. Definitely, when we ski in Austria, the first thing I wanna do is to have that great traditional Gluhwein to warm up. Thanks to the spices it has, this great Gluhwein is all you need to drink. It warms you up but also gives you the power and energy for the whole day. This beverage is usually made of good red wine next to a lot of spices, sugar, and oranges. Because it is a mulled wine it loses its strength, this is why it is so easy to drink and enjoy it.
The first time I drank it, I fell in love with it. Since then, I have tried to have it anytime we visit Germany or Austria in the winter holidays. Also, one great moment about this hot cocktail is the way the locals sell it to you. The Gluhwein is poured in a mug (a type of glass made of clay) to maintain the warm temperature as this kind of glass keeps it warm. So you can enjoy this warm drink longer. Because some people make it truly spicy, I try to drink it slowly, and this mug is the perfect glass for me. Also, if you return the mug back to the huts, then they give you back your money – what a great trick to drink more Gluhwein. Because we adore this drink so much, I do it regularly in my kitchen in the winter holidays. The smell in the kitchen is so magical – the aroma it fills up the house is yummy and mouth-watering.
This spicy hot mulled wine is easy to make, juicy and delicious to drink, as well as warms you up from the inside out. Some simple and easy ingredients will transform your wine into a magical warm winter cocktail with the Christmas spirit in your soul.
This traditional and best Gluhwein is associated with Christmas and winter holidays because it is made of oranges, orange juice, and orange zest (optional). When you squeeze it in your mulling wine the aroma it emanates perfectly associates with winter holidays. We eat oranges all year round, but nonetheless, this aroma ideally portrays the winter holiday feelings and emotions. This is why this warm and aromatic beverage sweetened and spiced adds the Christmas atmosphere in our hearts and our homes.
What is gluhwein?
Gluhwein is a mulled wine and a traditional drink in Germany and Austria. Even though the origins show that it is not of German roots, but of Romans, still they consider it their local traditional winter holiday cocktail.
Glühwein is a very popular and famous drink because of a spicy/sweetened aroma and the way it warms you up from the inside out. Also, it is a delicious drink to have on cold/snowy days. Served in a traditionally decorated mug, Gluhwein is already a German-style mulled wine.
How to make gluhwein?
This versatile and amazing mulled wine can be done in more ways. My mom, for example, makes it strong and spicy, I like it spicy nicely balanced with sweet ingredients.
For today, I took one of the best red wines I have, as I like to drink a good tasting Gluhwein. I poured one bottle of Saperavi wine in a big saucepan and left it until it boils. When it boils (5-7 minutes only as I try not to boil off the alcohol) I add a lot of spices: cardamom, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, black pepper, one shot of brandy, a cup of orange juice, and some orange zest or slices. I leave 2-3 minutes more to boil until all the ingredients have unified and left an unbelievable aroma in the air. It is a pleasant temptation to always try some of it until it is boiling. Many recipes suggest boiling up to 30 minutes, but I think it is too long as I try to maintain the alcohol in the mulled wine in order to feel the nice taste from the wine. However, you can choose what type of drink you like more – a stronger one, or a childish cocktail:).
Pour in a nice glass or mug and decorate it with some cinnamon sticks and orange zest and serve immediately while hot.
This hot spiced mulled wine will be one of your sweet indulgences after a hard-working day.
What is the best wine for gluhwein?
For the best traditional gluhwein recipe, it is advised to use dry red wine. It already depends on your taste, be it either a blended red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Saperavi, it should be one of the best quality. I adore drinking this warm cocktail made of one of the best wines, even though it loses its strength while being mauled.
- I never add water to gluhwein. Optional!
- If you want it stronger add more black pepper when it is boiling, if you want it sweeter, then add more tbsp of sugar.
- If you don’t like cardamom or other spices, skip them.
- Never boil it too much or you will boil off the alcohol.
- Try not to reheat it, as it loses its taste and aroma.
- Choose any dry red wine you like.
This best gluhwein recipe worth continuing the tradition despite its age. Even though it dates back to many centuries ago, it is still so modern and actual nowadays.
Traditional Spicy Gluhwein
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 shot brandy
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 10 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 cardamom
- 1 cup orange juice
- orange zest
- Bring to boil your wine, but try not to boil off the alcohol. Boil it for 10 minutes.
- Add the spices: cardamom, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, black pepper, one shot of brandy, a cup of orange juice, and some orange zest.
- Boil 2-3 minutes more.
- Pour in a nice glass or mug and decorate with some cinnamon sticks and orange zest.
- Serve immediately hot.