As winter’s chill settles in and the holiday season approaches, there’s nothing quite like a steaming mug of mulled wine to warm both body and soul. Traditional German mulled wine, known as “Gluhwein ”, has been a comforting beverage for centuries, bringing people together in the spirit of celebration and camaraderie. In this blog post, we’ll explore the rich history, delightful flavours, and the art of making Gluhwein – a festive drink that transcends borders and has become an integral part of a visit to Christmas Markets.
The Origins of Gluhwein:
Gluhwein traces its roots back to ancient Rome, where spiced and heated wines were consumed to ward off the winter chill. However, the modern incarnation of Gluhwein is often associated with German-speaking countries, particularly Germany and Austria. The name “Gluhwein” translates to “glowing wine,” capturing the essence of the warm and comforting beverage.
The beauty of Gluhwein lies in its simplicity. Typically made with red wine, various spices, citrus fruits, and sugar, Gluhwein is a delightful blend of flavours that warms you from the inside out. It is easy to make a delicious, mulled wine from your home-made wine and spirits at a fraction of the price of a commercial bottle. Common ingredients include:
- Red Wine: A robust red wine forms the base of Gluhwein. Traditionally, a dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec is used.
- Spices: Cinnamon sticks, star anise, and nutmeg are employed to infuse the wine with a fragrant and spicy profile. Add one cinnamon stick, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, and one piece of Star Anise. Alternatively, add one of Dark Rock’s Mulled Wine Spice Packs (infusion bag) to the Red Wine and stir to release the flavour.
- Citrus Addition: Slice a large Orange and add to the wine to provide a burst of citrusy brightness to counterbalance the richness of the wine and spices.
- Honey is used to sweeten the Gluhwein. And give the final drink a rich smoothness. Add 1 tablespoon of clear honey to start and stir well. Taste, and add more honey if necessary, according to your preference.
The Art of Making Gluhwein:
- Pour one bottle of red wine into a large pot and place it on low to medium heat.
- Add one large measure of dark or spiced Rum. Your homemade still spirits rum is a great addition at a small cost.
- Add the spices (or mulled wine infusion pack), sliced orange, and honey to the pot.
- Stir the mixture gently to ensure that the flavours meld together.
- Allow the Gluhwein to simmer but avoid boiling it to retain the alcohol content.
- Let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
- Strain the Gluhwein to remove the spices and fruit slices.
- Serve the warm Gluhwein in mugs, garnished with a cinnamon stick or citrus twist.
The first sip of Gluhwein is like wrapping yourself in a cosy blanket on a winter’s evening. The warmth of the spices, the depth of the red wine, and the hint of citrus create a harmonious symphony of flavours. Whether enjoyed at a Christmas market, a holiday gathering, or by the fireplace at home, Gluhwein brings people together in a shared moment of joy. It is more than just a beverage; it’s a tradition, a celebration of the season, and a reminder that even in the coldest months, warmth can be found in the company of friends, and a mug of spiced, mulled wine. So, this winter, embrace the tradition of Gluhwein and enjoy the simple pleasures found in a mug of mulled wine!