Home Food German Food Warm Up with a German Classic: Glühwein

Warm Up with a German Classic: Glühwein

A Quick Overview

Is there a difference between mulled wine and Glühwein?

Yes, there is a difference between mulled wine and Glühwein. You can read up on it here…

How do you make Glühwein?

To make Glühwein, combine red wine with sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and sliced oranges in a pot, and heat until it’s steaming hot but not boiling. Let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes. You can find a step-by-step guide here…

What will happen if you boil Glühwein?

If you boil Glühwein, the alcohol in the wine may start to evaporate, which can affect the flavor of the drink. Boiling can also cause the sugar to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot, which can make the Glühwein taste burnt.

Glühwein is a traditional warm German spiced wine that is often enjoyed during the year’s colder months. The name “Glühwein” translates to “smouldering wine,” which refers to the warmth and comfort the drink brings on a cold winter’s night.

In a lot of European countries, you can find Glühwein in your local store, but you can also make Glühwein yourself. In this article, you will find out more about German Christmas wine, also known as “Glühwein”. It will be discussed what the best wine for Glühwein is, how to make Glühwein at home and useful tips and tricks shall be provided.

Mulled Wine = Glühwein?

gluhwein recipe
German spiced wine – Also known as German Christmas wine or more simply “Glühwein”

Mulled wine and Glühwein are both warm, spiced beverages that are commonly consumed during the winter months. While they may seem similar, there are several differences between the two drinks that set them apart.

  • Origin and cultural significance:

Mulled wine has been enjoyed for centuries throughout Europe, and is often associated with the holiday season. The drink has a long history and is thought to have originated in ancient Rome. Today, mulled wine is enjoyed in many different countries and is a popular drink at Christmas markets and holiday gatherings.

Glühwein, on the other hand, is a specific type of mulled wine that is traditionally consumed in Germany and other German-speaking countries. It is particularly popular during the Christmas season and is commonly sold at Christmas markets.

  • Type of wine:

Glühwein, German spiced wine, is typically made with dry red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Mulled wine, on the other hand, can be made with either red or white wine. The type of wine used can affect the flavor of the finished drink.

Origin and History of Glühwein

The first recorded recipe for Glühwein dates back to the 15th century. The drink was particularly popular among the aristocracy, who would often serve it at their holiday feasts.

During the Renaissance period, Glühwein became increasingly popular among the middle class, and it was during this time that the drink began to be associated with the Christmas season.

Today, Glühwein is a beloved beverage during the holiday season in Germany and other European countries.

  • Spices:

Both Glühwein and mulled wine are made with a variety of spices. However, the specific spices used in each drink can vary. Glühwein typically includes cinnamon, cloves, and anise, while mulled wine can be made with a variety of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. The specific spices used can affect the overall flavor of the drink.

  • Sweeteners:

Both Glühwein and mulled wine can be sweetened to taste. Glühwein is typically sweetened with sugar or honey, while mulled wine can be sweetened with a variety of sweeteners, including honey, maple syrup, or even apple cider.

  • Serving temperature:

Both Glühwein and mulled wine are served warm. However, the serving temperature can vary. Glühwein is typically served at a temperature between 140-158°F (60-70°C), while mulled wine is often served slightly cooler, between 122-140°F (50-60°C).

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Before You Start on Your Glühwein

gluhwein recipe
German mulled wine recipe – There is a wide variety of different recipes to be found

How to make Glühwein? It is not actually difficult! But first and foremost, you need to choose the correct type of wine in order to make an authentic German Glühwein.

Fun Fact: Mulled wine has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. It was believed to have warming and healing properties and was often used to treat colds and other ailments.

In medieval times, mulled wine it was also often used as a form of currency. It was a popular gift among royalty and was used to pay rent or settle debts.

The Best Wine Types for Glühwein

When making Glühwein, it is important to choose the right type of wine to achieve the best flavor. Red wine is the most commonly used wine for Glühwein, and the best types of red wine for this drink are full-bodied and dry. Some of the most popular red wine types used for Glühwein include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. It’s important to avoid using wine that is too sweet or has a low alcohol content, as this can result in a drink that is too sweet or watery.

gluhwein recipe
Best wine for Glühwein – There are several to choose from

Burnt Glühwein – Not a Good Idea

While it’s important to heat the Glühwein to a certain temperature to release the flavors of the spices, boiling the drink can have some negative effects on its taste and quality.

One of the most significant effects of boiling Glühwein is the loss of alcohol content. Boiling can cause the alcohol in the wine to evaporate, which can lead to a less potent drink. This can affect the taste of the Glühwein, as the alcohol content contributes to the overall flavor and aroma of the beverage. If the Glühwein is boiled for too long, it may even lose all of its alcohol content.

Tip: Serving Glühwein in pre-warmed glasses will help to keep the drink warm and prevent it from cooling down too quickly. You can pre-warm the glasses by running them under hot water or placing them in the oven for a few minutes.

Another effect of boiling Glühwein is the risk of caramelization. When sugar is heated, it can begin to caramelize and turn brown. If Glühwein is boiled for too long, the sugar in the drink can begin to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot. This can result in a burnt taste and unpleasant aroma in the Glühwein. It’s important to stir the Glühwein regularly when heating it to prevent the sugar from sticking to the pot.

Boiling Glühwein can also cause the drink to become too concentrated. If the Glühwein is boiled for too long, the water in the wine can evaporate, leaving a more concentrated and syrupy beverage. This can make the Glühwein too sweet and difficult to drink.

Easy Recipe for Homemade Glühwein

gluhwein recipe
German spiced wine – The best way to warm up on a Christmas Market

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Glühwein, let’s get into the recipe. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide for making Glühwein at home:


  • 1 bottle of red wine (preferably dry)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
gluhwein recipe
How to make Glühwein yourself? It’s fast and easy, don’t worry!


  1. Pour the red wine into a large saucepan and heat it gently over low heat. Be careful not to let it boil.
  2. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange slices, and lemon slices to the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and the spices are evenly distributed.
  4. Let the Glühwein simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Taste the Glühwein and add more sugar if needed.
  6. Strain the Glühwein through a fine mesh strainer to remove the spices and fruit slices.
  7. Serve the Glühwein hot in mugs or glasses.

Optional Add-Ons

gluhwein recipe
German mulled wine recipe – Not the same as a Glühwein recipe, usually
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How to make Glühwein? When you ask yourself this question, there is something else to consider – Add-Ons. There are several optional add-ons that can be used to enhance the flavor and create a more personalized version of a German mulled wine recipe. Here are some of the most popular add-ons to Glühwein and how they can change the taste:

  • Fruit juice: Adding fruit juice to Glühwein can help to balance out the sweetness of the sugar and add a tangy, fruity flavor. Orange juice is a popular choice, as it pairs well with the spices in the drink. Other juices, such as apple or cranberry, can also be used to add a unique twist to the traditional recipe.
  • Brandy or rum: Adding a splash of brandy or rum to Glühwein can give it a boozy kick and a deeper flavor. The alcohol content in the wine will also be increased, which can make the drink more potent. Brandy or rum can be added at the beginning of the cooking process, or poured directly into individual servings for a more customizable drink.

Tip: While cinnamon and cloves are traditional spices used in Glühwein, there are many other spices you can use to customize the flavor. Experiment with different spices like cardamom, allspice, or ginger to create a unique flavor profile.

  • Ginger: Fresh ginger can be grated into Glühwein to add a spicy kick and a warming sensation. Ginger pairs well with the other spices in the drink and can add a unique depth of flavor. It’s important to use fresh ginger rather than dried for the best taste.
  • Honey: Honey can be used as a sweetener in place of sugar to give Glühwein a more natural, earthy taste. Honey pairs well with the spices in the drink and can add a subtle floral note to the flavor. It’s important to stir the honey into the wine slowly to ensure that it dissolves completely.
  • Citrus zest: Adding citrus zest, such as orange or lemon, to Glühwein can add a bright, zesty flavor to the drink. The zest can be added along with the other spices and left to simmer with the wine. It’s important to only use the colored part of the zest, as the white pith can add a bitter taste to the drink.

By adding these optional ingredients to Glühwein, you can create a more complex and personalized flavor that suits your taste. Whether you prefer a tangy fruit flavor, a boozy kick, or a spicy bite, there are many ways to customize Glühwein and make it your own.

A Recap about Glühwein

Glühwein is a warm and comforting spiced wine that is perfect for the colder months of the year. With its mix of red wine, sugar, and spices, it is easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time for a festive gathering. So, take some time to make this classic drink to warm up this winter. And, don’t forget to serve it in a heatproof glasses, mugs or cups. Enjoy your homemade Glühwein!

FAQs on the topic “Glühwein Recipe”

How long can Glühwein be stored?

Glühwein can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. It’s recommended to reheat the Glühwein gently before serving, as the flavors will be more pronounced when it’s warm.

What type of red wine is best for making Glühwein?

A dry red wine that has a good balance of acidity and tannins works well for Glühwein. A full-bodied wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is commonly used, but varieties like Shiraz or Pinot Noir can also be used.

What are some alternative spices to use in Glühwein?

In addition to the classic spices of cinnamon, orange peel, cloves and vanilla pods, you can also add other spices like star anise, cardamom, and nutmeg to give the Glühwein more depth of flavor.