How to make Glühwein

The icy winter months have inspired me to explore the German delight, Glühwein, and with a cold snap rumoured to be on its way, I know what I’m looking forward to this weekend.
When researching Glühwein, I found an overwhelming number of different mulled wine recipes, each one claiming to be the best. Doubtful of the authenticity of all these recipes, I asked for advice from my German friend Sarah and, after a few quick phone calls to her family, she got back to me with the simplest recipe instructions I have ever received – ‘cinnamon, cloves, lemon, a little bit of sugar, red wine and… never ever bring to the boil!’

All I added to the mix was star anise, a couple of cardamom pods and I finished it off with a slice of orange rind. This recipe was an absolute pleasure to make and even lovelier to drink – I now understand why ‘glow wine’ has remained such a treasured tradition for centuries. Download printable version.

Ingredients for four glasses:
1 bottle of red wine (750ml)
1 lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
3 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 star anise
3 tbsp of brown sugar (You can substitute the brown sugar with honey for a slightly different flavour)
4 thin slices of orange rind (optional)

Slowly heat the red wine in a large saucepan or pot (don’t bring to the boil at any point as this will cause the alcohol to evaporate).
2. Slice the lemon and add it to the wine along with the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise and sugar.
3. Stir slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes (again, don’t allow it to boil).
4. Remove the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise and lemon slices.
5. Pour into individual glasses (a ladle works well) and finish off by adding a thin slice of orange rind to each glass. Serve hot.
If you don’t have heat-proof glasses, you can prevent normal glasses from cracking by placing them in warm water for a few moments before filling them with the hot Glühwein.

Also delicious and surprisingly refreshing when chilled.


Thanks to Karen Grandcourt for the pics.