According to German tourism, the historic origins of Glühwein reportedly started by thrifty folks who did not want to throw out wine when it started going bad. So they added some honey and spices to make it drinkable again. Great idea. Thankfully Glühwein today is not made with wine gone bad!
Traditionally Glühwein is made from red wine, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, orange juice and sugar. Many Christmas markets also offer a white wine version or a non-alcoholic version for children that is similar to spiced apple or even peach cider.
Glühwein is available at many local supermarkets during the fall (not just in Europe but the US too), and at all the European Christmas markets from late November through Christmas. Glühwein is quite often served in limited edition, collectible ceramic mugs, designed specifically for the particular Christmas market, which makes for a nice memento of your visit.
- 1 bottle of good red wine (750 m) - Doesn't have to be expensive, just drinkable on its own
- 3/4 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Juice of 1 orange
- 6 - 8 cloves
- Combine water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce and let simmer.
- Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the mixture. Place the cloves into the orange rind and place in pot. Let mixture simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until mixture is thick and syrupy.
- Add the wine and heat until warm but not simmering. Remove the orange rind, cloves and cinnamon stick.
- Serve in warm/hot mugs (cold glass may break).
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