Glühwein (engl. mulled wine) is a traditional German beverage during winter, especially around Christmas. The German word Glühwein (glowing wine) comes from the hot irons which were used for mulling in the past.
How to prepare Glühwein
Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and flavoured with various spices such as cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel and star anise. It is sometimes drunk 'mit Schuss' (with a shot), which means that rum or some other liquor has been added. Make sure not to heat the Glühwein above 80° C, because the alcohol contained in the wine can otherwise vaporize and the spices can change their taste adversely.
Fruit wines, such as blueberry wine and cherry wine, are occasionally used instead of grape wine in some parts of Germany. There is also a variation of Glühwein which is made with white wine. However, white Glühwein is less popular than its red counterpart.
Glühwein has a long tradition in Germany. In medieval times spiced wines were drunk mostly cold, but the used ingredients were the same that are used today.
Glühwein is an important part of German christmas tradition. In many cities christmas markets take place in the four weeks before christmas. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets. The markets are famous for various special food such as candied, toasted almonds, traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Christstollen, a sort of egg bread with candied fruit, Bratwurst, and of course, Glühwein.
Famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of Dortmund, Erfurt, Nuremberg, Dresden, Stuttgart and Augsburg, making them popular tourist attractions. The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw about two million people each year; the Stuttgart market attracts more than three million visitors and the Dortmund market can claim one of the biggest Christmas markets in Germany, with more than three and a half million visitors and over 300 stalls.
It is really easy to prepare your own Glühwein at home. The following recipe is easy to cook but delicious. You need the following ingredients:
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and gently warm everything on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Avoid boiling! Ladle the mulled wine into mugs and enjoy!
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