Austrian and German Recipes/ Christmas/ Cocktail Recipes/ New Year's Eve

Glühwein (German Mulled Wine)

1 January 2023 | Last Updated: 24 January 2023 By Aleksandra

Glühwein is German mulled wine. This traditional recipe uses dry red wine, aromatic spices, orange juice and zest, and is sweetened with brown sugar and honey. A splash of rum is added at the end to make it just a little bit stronger. It´s so delicious and warming – it´s the perfect drink for winter!

You may also like this white mulled wine (delicious!) or this cranberry orange mulled wine (made with fresh cranberries) or Polish mulled wine (with raspberry syrup).

Two glasses with Glühwein on a grey stone board garnished with orange wedges. Christmas decorations in the background.

What is Glühwein?

Glühwein is red wine seasoned with aromatic spices, citrus zest and juice, and served warm. It means ´glowing wine´ in German. It´s served at Christmas Markets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland (any many other European countries) but also many people make it at home (it´s super easy to make!). It really tastes and smells like Christmas! For me, it´s the perfect, warming, Christmas drink.

Glühwein pronunciation: you can listen how Glühwein is pronounced here.

Non-alcoholic version of Glühwein is called Kinderpunsch (can be translated as punch for kids) and it´s made from fruit juices and aromatic spices.

Ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Here´s what you need to make this easy recipe:

Labeled ingredients needed to make Glühwein.
  • Red wine – you can use any red wine that you like to drink on its own, but it needs to be dry. You don´t have to use pricey wine for this recipe but it should taste good.
  • Orange – preferably organic since the wine will be infused by the citrus zest. You could also add 1/2 lemon.
  • Brown sugar and honey – to sweeten your mulled wine. I prefer brown sugar for its caramel flavor with a hint of honey. I wouldn´t add more honey since its flavor it too pronounced but a small amount makes a lovely addition. You can also use white sugar but it will taste better with brown sugar.
  • Aromatic spices – cinnamon sticks, star anisecloves. You need to use whole spices and not ground spices. They will infuse wine with amazing flavor and won´t make it cloudy or gritty. You could use ground spices in a pinch but be careful and don´t add too much.
  • Rum – is added to make the drink a little stronger, since a small amount of alcohol will evaporate during heating the wine and the drink is diluted with the other ingredients. You can omit it. I don’t like to add to much because the flavor of rum can overpower aromatic mulled wine. You could use white or dark rum. Brandy would also work well. Amaretto is also a popular addition, but for me, its flavor is a little bit too strong for this drink.

What you could also add:

  • lemon juice and zest
  • cardamom pods, ginger, vanilla bean, allspice berries, nutmeg
  • remember add spices to your taste – some like it more spiced and some like it less spices

How to make Glühwein step by step

A collage of 6 photos showing how to make Glühwein step by step.

STEP 1: Squeeze out the orange and add the juice to a medium pot. Cut the orange zest into segments, lay each segment on a chopping board and using a sharp knife remove the white pith, leaving just the orange part of the zest. Add the orange zest to the pot.

TIP: White pith of the orange can make the wine just slightly bitter, that´s why the recipe is calling for removing it. If you don´t mind a slight bitterness, you can add whole orange zest.

STEP 2: Add all the ingredients except from rum.

STEP 3: Cover the pot and heat the wine over lowest heat, for about 20-30 minutes, until very hot but not simmering or boiling (you can check the temperature with a thermometer, it should not exceed 167°F / 75°C).

STEP 4: Add the rum (if using).

STEP 5: Ladle the wine to heatproof glasses, serve warm.

Enjoy!

Storage

Strain the wine and keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. It tastes really good reheated. Don´t leave the spices for too long in the wine (not longer than overnight) or the wine may come out too spiced.

Recipe FAQ´s

What´s the difference between Glühwein and mulled wine?

It´s the same drink! Glühwein is just the German name of this drink.

Why is it called Glühwein?

The German word itself directly translates to ‘glow wine’ in English. This name comes from the red hot irons used to heat the wine across the Germanic countries when the drink first became popular hundreds of years ago. Some of the oldest mentions of Glühwein can be dated to 1420.

Is there alcohol in Glühwein?

Yes, there is alcohol in Glühwein – red wine. It´s not as strong as regular wine because it´s diluted with citrus juices. because of that, many recipes call for additional shot of a stronger alcohol such as rum or brandy.
Does Glühwein make you drunk – yes, it does. If you don´t add the shot of rum to your mulled wine, it won´t have much alcohol, but still, if you drink too much (which is easy!), you will get drunk.

What is the difference between mulled wine and Glögg?

Glögg is the Swedish name of mulled wine. It is very similar to the German version but not quite the same. Different spices are used and almonds and raisins are sometimes placed in the bottom of the glass before the mulled wine is added.

Two glasses with Glühwein on a grey stone board garnished with orange wedges. One glass is held in a hand.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Glühwein (German Mulled Wine)

Glühwein is German mulled wine. This traditional recipe uses dry red wine, aromatic spices, orange juice and zest, and is sweetened with brown sugar and honey. A splash of rum is added at the end to make it just a little bit stronger. It´s so delicious and warming – it´s the perfect drink for winter!
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Two glasses with Glühwein on a grey stone board.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 257kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry red wine
  • 1 small orange
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons rum optional

Instructions

  • Squeeze out the orange and add the juice to a medium pot.
  • Cut the orange zest into segments, lay each segment on a chopping board and using a sharp knife remove the white pith, leaving just the orange part of the zest. Add the orange zest to the pot.
  • Add all the ingredients except from rum.
  • Cover the pot and heat the wine over lowest heat, for about 20-30 minutes, until very hot but not simmering or boiling (you can check the temperature with a thermometer, it should not exceed 167°F / 75°C).
  • Add the rum (if using).
  • Ladle the wine to heatproof glasses, serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can also warm up the wine really quickly (but still, shouldn’t get too hot or the alcohol will evaporate!) and then leave it for 1-2 hours or even overnight (in the fridge) for the flavors to meld.
  • Rum is added to make the drink a little stronger, since a small amount of alcohol will evaporate during heating the wine and the wine is also diluted with orange juice. You can omit it. I don’t like to add to much because the flavor of rum can overpower aromatic mulled wine.
  • White pith of the orange can make the wine just slightly bitter, that´s why the recipe is calling for removing it. If you don´t mind a slight bitterness, you can add whole orange zest.
  • Storage: Strain the wine and keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. It tastes really good reheated. Don´t leave the spices for too long in the wine (not longer than overnight) or the wine may come out too spiced.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course alcoholic bevarage, cocktail
Cuisine austrian, German
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
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