Bringing Europe Home

Glühwein Four Ways

The Christmas markets of Gemany are magical—renowned in their scope and enticing in their variety.  I have come to believe, however, that their secret ingredient is Glühwein.  There is nothing that warms the outdoor shoppers more effectively and festively than this hot mulled wine.  As a bonus, each market serves its wine in charming mugs which are embellished with jolly Christmas decorations and the year and name of the market.  The price of the Glühwein includes the price of the mug, but shoppers get that deposit back if they return the mug.  Naturally, I was enamored with the Glühwein mugs, and I collected them wherever I went.  It was added incentive to keep drinking!


 I’ve heard it said that “Glühwein” literally translates to “glow wine,” and whether or not that’s true, the drink does bring a certain luster to the cheeks and nose.  Simply put, it is mulled wine.  Red wine (typically) is mulled with a combination of citrus, sugar, spices, and rum, and these combinations will vary.


I am giving you four options for bringing Glühwein into your own homes, and they range from the simplest to the more complex methods.  Below you have Glühwein, four ways:

  1.    Buy it.  I have found it at Cost Plus World Market and Total Wine.  Unscrew the top, heat and drink.

2.         Brew it.  You can purchase mulling spices in tea bags or tins at many specialty stores and grocery stores.  Williams Sonoma makes a lovely mixture, and Trader Joe’s does, as well.  One of my favorites is sold by Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Ga. Their spices are sugar-free and come in user-friendly tea bags,  24 bags to a box.  All of these premixed mulling spices will come with directions printed on their containers.

  3.      Make it.  Proportions of sugar and spices will vary from recipe to recipe, but I have developed a recipe that’s as easy as 1-2-3 make and remember.  I use one each of the single items, two tablespoons each of the items that make it yummy, and three each of the items that give it extra flavor.  Here, you have it:

Glühwein 1,2,3

  • One bottle of red wine (Merlot or Burgundy is best, but I’m not picky.)
  • One cinnamon stick
  •  Two TBS raw sugar
  • Two TBS rum
  • Three cloves*
  • Three orange slices

Combine the ingredients and simmer over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Heat for 15 minutes or so.  Ladle into cute mugs.

*I put my cloves into a mesh tea ball (for loose tea), so that I don’t have to fish them out before serving.  I ladle around the cinnamon stick and orange slices.

And by the way, of course you can use plain white sugar instead of raw.

4. Mull it.  Here is a genuine family recipe, compliments of my dear friend,Kay Satterfield, whose mother-in-law is German.  This recipe is from the Rosner family of the Oberpfaltz region of Germany, and the family traditionally would drink this for the first time each year on Christmas Eve.  Kay believes that every family in Germany has some version of this recipe, and her own family makes this every year, as part of their own Christmas tradition.

Rosner/Satterfield Glühwein Recipe

  • 1 Bottle of Red Table Wine
  • 1 Bottle of White Wine (Dry)
  • 1/2 Bottle of Dark Rum
  • 2 Quarts Water to make Black Tea
  • 1 Box (lb) cube sugar
  • 3 Oranges, 3 Lemons
  1.  Rub the cube sugar on the lemons and oranges.  Squeeze the juice out of all oranges and lemons. Pour the juice over the sugar. Let stand.
  2. Prepare tea.  Add juice and let stand until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add wines and heat – do not boil.
  4. Add rum.
  5. Drink hot or cold.

 Frohe Weihnachten!  


  1. How fortunate we are coming up to Winter in the Southern Hemisphere and I may just need a few warming recipes like this to get me through the chilly nights 🙂

    • It’s always nice to have a few special food and beverage recipes and traditions tucked away, so that you can look forward to the cold season. 🙂

  2. I will definitely need to try the Gluhwein 123 recipe. Just reading it took me back to the German Christmas markets.

    • It’s become my “usual,” now! Even in the balmy Atlanta spring, I’m mulling my wine and drinking it hot. 🙂

  3. gatechfan

    Too bad I don’t like wine, ’cause that looks amazing

  4. Lisa

    I found this article interesting and fun, and the recipe very enticing … With the cold weather hitting hard, I am looking forward to Glühwein evenings around the fire. A very nice blog. Keep it coming.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I hope that some of these recipes help you enjoy your cozy winter evenings.

  5. Your Gluwein 123 recipe is genius. Really made my mouth water and long for mince pies and convivial company. I think I might be homesick!

    • Thanks so much for the high marks, Elspeth. I trust you’re back home now, enjoying your mince pies and convivial company, and perhaps that 1,2,3 recipe, too.

Your turn!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: