As the holiday season approaches, one of the popular items you’ll find at winery gift shops are the little packages of spices for making mulled wine. In fact, you may have already seen them – the cute little brown sacks all tied off with some twine, complete with a custom bottle cork to help the little packet float in the mulled wine mixture.
Practically every winery I’ve ever visited sells them, Amazon.com offers them in bulk, and if you’ve visited World Market recently, you’ve probably even seen a more elegantly-wrapped mulling spice bag that just begs to be sniffed all the way to the cash register.
The endless availability of spice bags heralds the holiday season and long-standing tradition for enjoying mulled wine that people have enjoyed around the globe for hundreds of years during the winter season. Mulled wine is essentially simply a red wine served either hot or warm, and recipe variations most commonly include spices like cinnamon, cloves, sugar, and other additions like orange peel, vanilla, ginger, or cardamom.
While in Turkey last year, I tasted some Sıcak Şarap that had hints of lemon, orange, and sugar added. Once, when visiting a friend in Hungary, we enjoyed her host mother’s forralt bor that was spiced with cloves and cinnamon. Since my ancestry is German, I get a particularly giddy each winter at the prospect of entertaining guests with batches of steaming, hot Glühwein, just like you’d find it at the Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) in Germany.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit a German Weinachtsmarkt and try a mug of Glühwein, try it “mit Schuss,” which means “with a shot” …of rum (or some other liquor)!
Now that I’ve peaked your interest with that delicious thought, for your holiday cooking pleasure, I’ve included some simple directions for Glühwein below, both in German and English, in case you’d like to impress your friends with your authentic and delicious recipe!
(English recipe below)
Zutaten (für zwei bis drei Personen)
- eine Flasche trockener Rotwein (750 ml)
- eine Zitrone
- 2 Stangen Zimt
- 3 Esslöffel Zucker
- 3 Gewürznelken
- etwas Kardamom (oder Ingwer)
Den Rotwein in einem Topf erhitzen (nicht kochen). Die Zitrone in Scheiben schneiden und hinzufügen. Dann Zimt, Nelken, Zucker und etwas Kardamom (nach belieben) dazugeben. Alles etwa 5 Minuten erwärmen – nicht kochen – und etwa eine Stunde ziehen lassen. Vor dem Servieren nochmals erwärmen, durch ein Sieb abgießen, in vorgewärmten Gläsern oder Bechern servieren.
German Glühwein (English Instructions)
Ingredients (serves 2-3 persons)
- 1 bottle of dry red wine (750 ml)
- one lemon
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 cloves
- some cardamom (or ginger)
Heat the red wine in a pot (don’t let it boil). Cut the lemon into slices and add to the wine. Then add the cinnamon, cloves, sugar and a little cardamom (to taste). Heat everything for approximately 5 minutes – again, do not boil, and let the mixture stand for about an hour. Reheat and strain before serving. Serve in pre-warmed glasses or mugs. (Oh, and for a little festivity… make a second batch mit Schuss!