Tips from the Nest: Making Mulled Wine
No visit to the European Christmas Markets is complete without sampling the warm, spiced Glühwein. Stroll through the many stalls as the smells of sweet spices, warm gingerbread and roasting chestnuts fill the air.
Traditionally known as “glow wine” or mulled wine, it is a traditional Christmas drink served from iron cauldrons from the stalls at Christmas Markets throughout Europe.
The History of Mulled Wine
Warm spiced wines were first recorded back in 1st century Rome. Spicing techniques were developed as a way to both ensure the longevity of wine and to add flavor to wine which had spoiled. As the Romans travelled across Europe, they brought with them their knowledge of spiced wine recipes. It is said that originally mulled wine was used to show wealth and stature in medieval households across Germany and Austria.
Today the beverage is popular throughout German speaking countries and the Alsace region in France however many European countries have their own variations of mulled wine. The Scandinavian countries refer to mulled wine as Glog, the Czech’s as svařené víno and in France it is known as Vin Chaud.
A Christmas Tradition
German and Austrian Christmas Markets are filled with various stalls celebrating the festive season. Each Christmas market has many stalls offering their own homemade recipe of mulled wine served in bright ceramic mugs.
When wandering the Christmas markets you can purchase mulled wine from the local stallsman served in the unique ceramic mug, with each market around Europe boasting their own design. Don’t be shocked at the initial price as it also includes a deposit on the beautiful mug which the drink is served in.
Prior to departing the markets ensure you request a fresh, clean mug from one of the local stalls to keep as a fantastic souvenir. Or you can return the mug and have your deposit refunded.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour +
Servings: 6-8 glasses
• 1 bottle of bold dry red wine (Cabernet and Merlot are suitable)
• 100ml water
• 1 large orange, sliced
• 1 lemon, sliced
• 1/4 cup raw sugar
• 3 whole cloves
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 2 star anise
• 3 cardamom pods
• Nutmeg (optional)
Place wine, water and sugar in a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Slice the citrus and add along with the various spices to the wine mixture. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Once the sugar has dissolved, leave the mixture to simmer for at least 1 hour or until the flavours have developed and infused.
Ladle the mixture into glasses, garnish with an orange peel or a cinnamon stick and serve warm for the perfect treat on a cold winter’s night.
Note: Ensure the mixture does not boil as this can affect the flavour.
If you are interested in experiencing traditional Glühwein in the streets of European towns and villages contact us for more information on our European Christmas tours.