Get into the Holiday “Spirit” with Gluehwein: A Special Recipe from our Broker/Owner, Susanna Haynie
Some of you might know that I am German and the US is my country of choice. Even though it’s been 30 years since I left Germany, I sometimes do miss some things from home. Christmas is usually a time when I miss German traditions the most: Christkindls Markets, Advent Calendars, Advent Wreaths, Gluehwein and Nikolaustag. Over the years I have learned to recreate these favorite Christmas traditions. One of the easiest traditions to recreate is Gluehwein (it’s ok to pronounce it glooh-wein). Find my recipe below.
I grew up in southwest Germany in the German Rhine/French Alsace area. My earliest memories are when my parents had a hot cup of Gluehwein at the Christkindls Market in my hometown while I had a hot apple juice or hot chocolate. Later on, I learned that there is nothing better to take the chill out of you than Gluehwein.
We pretty much never had Gluehwein outside of Christmas time. The weather needed to be cold and Christmas lights needed to be twinkling. When I was still in Germany and worked downtown, many times during the Christmas season colleagues would get a cup of Gluehwein at the Christkindlsmarket to socialize after work.
Every year there was a new collectible cup (not a wineglass!) and the cup for that particular year would always come with us whenever we visited the market. After all, the wine was 1Euro cheaper if we brought our own Christmas Market cup. Collecting these cups was a popular thing to do. (We might not have Christkindls Markets here in Colorado Springs, but we do have a lot of great holiday activity options).
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There isn’t a big difference between hot spiced mulled wine and Gluehwein? Most are made with similar ingredients, but everyone has their own preferences. You can buy mulled wine or gluehwein tea bags and just do it to taste. You can also buy bottles of gluehwein at your local liquor store starting about about $10/bottle. I have discovered that you can get cherry and other berry flavored gluehwein, but I haven’t tried those yet. Gluehwein is simple to make and it makes any home smell delicious. There are many ways to make Gluehwein. It’s important that YOU like it, so take the following recipe as more of a guideline.
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The basic recipe for 4-6 people. Feel free to make more, as it stores well and you might enjoy some tomorrow.
- 1 bottle/ 700 ml of red wine (note: I like to use a cheap red but not necessarily sweet wine. You are heating it up and adding spices so individual wine nuances are lost in the process)
- 1/2 to 1 orange, sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3-5 whole cloves
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks depending on quality and size
- 2 whole star anis
- vanilla beans
- a few slices lemon
- Brandy/Rum – if you need an extra flavor (or an extra strong beverage)
- Wash and slice oranges.
- Add all ingredients into a medium size pot.
- Heat the mixture but NEVER, EVER let it “bubble” – all of your alcohol (and with that at least some of the taste) will evaporate.
- Enjoy in your favorite mug and look at the twinkling Christmas lights.
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