Glühwein – German Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Germany has a long tradition when it comes to Mulled Wine. The oldest documented Glühwein tankard dates back to 1420. It belonged Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen who is said to be the very first vintner to ever have planted the Riesling grape on a large scale. Glühwein is the traditional German Christmas drink. It’s not only sold on every Christmas-market but also cooked a home.


1) Traditional Glühwein

Traditional Glühwein is based on red wine. Usually a very young and fruity wine is used to produce Glühwein. The wine should not have more than 12% or 12.5% alcohol by volume. Citrus, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star aniseed are the most important spices for traditional German Glühwein. Depending on how strong you want your Glühwein you have to add Orange juice. If you want to try Glühwein at home then follow these simple instructions: Heat 0,75 liters of red wine and 0,25l of orange juice in a pot. But be careful – don’t let it boil! Cut 1/2 orange and 1 lemon into slices. Add them together with 3 cloves,  2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 star aniseed to the wine. Let everything cook for around 15 minutes but once again don’t let it boil. Use a colander to separate the Glühwein from the spices and serve it in tankards. Of course this is just one of many possible ways to prepare Glühwein and there is no right or wrong recipe. Just make sure that it tastes like Christmas!

2) White Glühwein

A few centuries later some Germans wondered how Glühwein would taste if they would use white wine instead of red wine. Best way to find out was to try it. Today white Glühwein is almost as popular as the traditional one. The recipe is pretty much the same. The wine should be a young, fresh white wine. A fruity Riesling might be your best best. Add the juice of 2 mandarins, 2 lemons and 1 orange to the wine. Depending on your taste you can add a little bit of apple juice. Cut another orange into slices and add it together with 2 stern aniseed, 2 cinnamon sticks and 2 cloves to the pot. Heat the mix for 10-15 minutes but don’t let it boil. Separate the wine from the spices with a colander.


3) Stronger Styles

You like Glühwein but are of the opinion that it’s not strong enough? Or are you looking for something that heats your body up? Then try “Glühwein mit Schuss”. Glühwein mit Schuss literally translates to mulled wine with shot. The shot is usually white Rum. German Christmas-markets often offer this variety of Glühwein next to the white and red Glühwein. When making Glühwein mit Schuss at home simply add as much white Rum as you want in the pot. Proceed then with one of the above recipes.

4) Feuerzangenbowle

Feuerzangenbowle  - GlühweinLast but not least there is the famous German Feuerzangenbowle. It’s rather complicated to make since you need a special bowl to prepare it which is similar to a fondue set. It’s fun to prepare and tastes delicious. The bowl gets filled with red wine and spices – much like traditional German Glühwein. A bowl should hold at least 2-3 liters of Glühwein. A pair of tongs holding a large sugar loaf is placed on top of the bowl. The sugar loaf is soaked with strong white rum that has at least 70% ABV and is then set alight. The sugar will now slowly melt an fall in the bowl. One of the secrets of the Feuerzangenbowle is to never extinguish the flame therefore more and more rum gets poured on the sugar loaf until it’s completely melted. Afterwards the drink gets served in traditional tankards.

Parting words

I hope that these recipes will encourage you to try to cook Glühwein at home. It’s easier than you think and it tastes very good. Should you have any questions about Glühwein then feel free to ask them in comment section below. I’ll try to answer them.  If you’ve made Glühwein or Feuerzangenbowle at home then let me know how you liked it! By the way Glühwein is best served with traditional German Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen are similar to Gingerbread.


15 comments on “Glühwein – German Mulled Wine”

    • vino in love Reply

      Thanks for commenting! If you give it a try this winter then let me know if you liked it 🙂 I don’t think Glühwein is very common in the US is it?

  1. Sean P. Reply

    During my timed in Germany I used to drink Feuerzangenbowle every December! Completly forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder : )

  2. the winegetter Reply

    We’re totally throwing a glühwein party before heading north for Christmas. Nina prefers the white glühwein, but I always liked the red better…my mom sent us a spice mix that also has cardamom in it (weirdly, the mix calls for equal amounts of water and wine…what a waste!).

    And I absolutely LOVE Feuerzangenbowle. You forgot that it should be watched with the like-named movie…A Zange is one of the things I need to get when I am back in Germany next. Or have my mother send it….

    • vino in love Reply

      That sounds awesome!
      I personally prefer the red Glühwein, too but white one is not bad either but the Feuerzangenbowle tops them all 🙂
      You’re right that it should be watched together with that movie 🙂 I don’t even know though if it exists in English? I think the movies is from the early Fifties or so.

  3. theducksong Reply

    I never tried Gluhwein but I might try it this year : ) Don’t know yet.. Seems to be quite a lot of work to prepare it.

    • vino in love Reply

      It’s worth trying and really it’s not that complicated to make Glühwein 🙂
      You can also buy it bottled (at least in Germany) but that only tastes half as good!

  4. oenophilogical Reply

    This is a nice post, and it brings back really fond memories. I spent an Xmas in Munich some years ago, and the Christkindl Markt on Marienplatz was awesome. Roasted chestnuts, Gluehwein and Xmas ornaments on sale. Would you mind if I reblog this over at my spot?

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for stopping by! Drinking Glühwein at a Christas Market makes it taste even better I think. Glad to hear that you had a good time in Munich. This year we had no luck with snow but it was still fun going to all the different Christmas Markets.

      I don’t mind if you reblog this post, infact I would be honored if you do 🙂
      Merry Christmas!

  5. PSsquared Reply

    A couple of years ago a German friend of ours gave us some Glühwein she found here in Arizona . I couldn’t get past the warm to tell if I liked it or not. I should give it another shot. After all, it’s almost cold enough here for warm beverages! 🙂 Prost!

  6. oenophilogical Reply

    Hey, I got a reblog up. Appreciate your letting me. Because of my blog provider, I wasn’t able to do a simple “press the button and reblog” thing. Or maybe I’m just technically challenged. At any rate, it’s up with full attribution, etc. Thanks.

  7. Pingback: Glühwein – German Mulled Wine | oenophilogical

  8. Pingback: How’s that for a tongue twister: Feuerzangenbowle | the winegetter

  9. Pingback: Feuerzangenbowle and how to make your own Zuckerhut | the winegetter

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