Traditional German Mulled Wine: Gluehwein

Introduction: Traditional German Mulled Wine: Gluehwein

About: Student designer and furniture maker based in Germany.

Especially in winter days we need something that gives warmth from the inside. The better if it contains alcohol.

This traditional recipe for mulled wine, as we call it Glühwein, is something more special than others. My mother told me how to make it, her mother told it her and so on...

What makes it special in comparison to other recipes?

CARAMELISE the sugar, this will give it a nice flavour! It is not super easy but I will tell you how and you will do well!

But first, get your ingredients:

  • 1 bottle 0,75 L red wine (referably not too sweet)
  • 2 oranges
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • pepper (not grounded)

You will also need

  • stove
  • pot and fitting lid
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • filter
  • tablespoon

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Sorted

Gather all ingredients and tools to begin.

Tip: open the bottle of wine now! Sometimes it can be tricky to get just the right moment that the caramelised sugar will neither become to hard nor be to unfinished. You will later be more relaxed when it's time to add the wine.

Tip: to increase the effect of the cinnamon sticks break them in half. Greater surface, greater flavour.

Step 2: Fill the Pot

Now put the following into the pot:

  • cinnamon sticks
  • sugar
  • cloves
  • pepper
  • ginger

Add 4 tablespoons of water and put the stove to the max.

Step 3: Get the Caramel Right

With the heat up you will observe that the sugar dissolves and the solution starts boiling quite fast.

Stir from time to time and look at the bubbles forming. At the beginning they will form fast and will burst fast. The longer you boil it they will become denser and "slower". You will also recognise a tasty caramel smell.

Now the longer you wait the denser it gets and the more caramelized it will be. It needs a little practice to get the right moment to add the wine but as soon as you empty the bottle into the boiling solution it will steam and sizzle loudly.

Don't be afraid this is totally normal. The longer it caramelises the more steam and sizzling there will be.

Tip: after adding the wine you will notice hard caramel crystals forming out and sticking to the pot and to the spoon and also floating on the surface. They will dissolve completely until the Gluehwein is ready.

Step 4: Oranges

Add the oranges by squeezing out the juice. You can do it like I did it, or of course use a squeezer.

Tip: if you bought oranges of good quality you could add some slices. You can later use these to decorate the cups upon serving.

Step 5: Simmer and Filter

Simmer the mixture at medium heat with the lid closed.

When the wine is hot filter it through, directly into cups or as I did into a tea pot.

Tip: the wine should not boil, but if it does it will loose all of the alcohol. In order to prevent the alcohol from evaporating close the lid!

Step 6: Serve

Here a suggestion how to serve it.

To decorate you can use the cinnamon sticks out of the pot or if you kept them, some slices of the oranges.

Tip: you can also add some rum to make it stronger. But be careful with it and maybe ask your guests in beforehand.

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