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Holiday glühwein or “mulled wine”

Glühwein, also known as mulled wine, is a popular hot beverage made from red wine, spices and citrus fruit. It is typically served during the winter months, especially around Christmas time. Its history can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome where it was common to warm wine up and add spices and sweeteners to improve the flavor. This tradition continued and in Medieval Europe spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg were highly prized and so when you could add it to your wine it became not just a way to flavor the wine but also a sort of status symbol. This practice also had a practical purpose, as drinking wine was better than drinking water as the alcohol helped preserve and purify the drink.

The name glühwein is of German origin and it means “glowing wine” in reference to the hot iron rods once used to warm the beverage. It is a staple of the Christmas and holiday market tradition that is now popular throughout Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. Whether you drink this while strolling around a market, or prepare this for a holiday gathering – we hope you can enjoy some good cheer this year during the holidays.


  • 1 bottle of dry red wine, 750 ml
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 organic oranges
  • 5 cloves (we sometimes stick the cloves into the orange peels and slices so they wouldn’t get lost in the liquid)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rum, optional
  • 3 cardamom seeds, optional
  • 2 star anise, whole, optional
  • Other spices and citrus fruit are also great options.


  • Wash the oranges and cut them into slices. You can save a few slices for decoration.
  • Add the wine, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves, sugar, rum (optional), star anise (optional), and cardamom (optional) to a pot. Put on the lid and heat the mixture on low heat for about one hour. It’s important that the wine doesn’t come to a boil as this will evaporate the alcohol. Check on the wine occasionally and give it a stir.
  • After one hour, try the mulled wine and add more sugar to taste (optional).
  • Pour the wine through a sifter before serving to capture the spices and orange slices.
  • Serve with the orange slice (fresh slices or the slices from inside the brewing pot) and enjoy!

Adapted from the recipe on: Recipes from Europe