Glühwein: Germany’s Mulled Wine

Glühwein_Germany's Mulled WineWhen I was in my early 20’s, and a very young mom, we moved to Germany.  My husband had taken the opportunity to go there and open a new office.  So, unlike other folks with the military or large companies, we didn’t have a huge amount of support getting started.  A neighbor introduced me  to an English speaking playgroup right away.  The playgroup was a life saver.  It was the place to ask questions, and get help for living in a foreign country.  The women there were from all over the world, and we made a point to have Mom Gatherings on a regular basis.  The first of these was just a couple of months after we moved to Germany. Sue, a Canadian who was married to a local German man, brought the Glühwein.

The Origins of this Glühwein Recipe

Sue’s husband was from the Black Forest region of Germany.  This recipe is one that his family had been drinking for as long as they could remember.    It is a very simple recipe, and takes just a few minutes to prepare.

The Ingredients


Use any wine that you prefer.  It doesn’t have to be a red.  It certainly shouldn’t be expensive.  Since you mix the wine, in equal parts, with apple cider, you are completely changing the flavors.  This is a great way to use up that bottle someone gave to you, that you don’t really want to drink as is.

Apple Cider:

I prefer an unfiltered, tart apple cider.  An unfiltered apple cider has a more complexity of flavors, and brings more than just sweet to the pot.  If you can’t find any, or don’t care for it, use apple juice.


The original recipe given to me, called for 1/2 cup of honey.  I have found that you should really taste the wine and apple cider mixture before adding honey.  If you are using a white or rose wine, they are already a little sweet.  A dark, dry red might need a little more honey.

Whole Spices:

I like to add in a whole cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves and a whole star anise.  If you have a whole “Mulling Spice” mixture, you can use that.  I would not recommend a powdered spice mixture, especially if they contain extra sugar.

Citrus Fruit:

A couple of round slices of lemon and orange make a beautiful presentation.  They also provide a little bit of balancing flavor to the cider and honey.

Glühwein Memories

Every Christmas Market in Germany has Glühwein vendors. They actually serve it in little ceramic cups, in different shapes, sizes and colors.  You pay a deposit on the cup, and if you return it you get your money back.  I’ve saved a few cups from our journeys, and every Christmas, we bring them out.

Glüwein cups

It is so much fun to wander around the stalls, with a warm cup of cheer in your hands.  The first Christmas Market we went to was awe inspiring.  It was in Stuttgart, and was huge.  The kids got to ride some small carnival rides, all bundled up in their winter clothes.  Rosy cheeks and cheesy grins made the evening.

The market was filled with vendors selling linens, ornaments, wood carvings, toys, sweaters, mittens and hats.  I can almost smell the cinnamon toasted almonds and bratwurst being sold on every corner.  It was an absolute feast for the senses.

I hope that your holidays are warm, and full of delightful memories.  Cheers!

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Glühwein: Germany's Mulled Wine
A traditional recipe from the Black Forest region of Germany. Perfect for parties, gatherings or just to warm up a cold winter's night.
Course Beverage
Cuisine German, Homemade
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Beverage
Cuisine German, Homemade
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
  1. If using a large pot on the stove, keep the heat low. If you would like to make this in a crock pot, keep it set to just warm. Do not allow this to boil, as it will remove all of the alcohol.
  2. Pour the Wine and Apple Cider into your pot. Taste, and add Honey if necessary. Add in Cinnamon Stick, Cloves and Anise. Heat, stirring honey until melted. You can serve when warm, or keep warm for serving later.
  3. If garnishing, float lemon and orange slices in the pot.
Recipe Notes

Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.  Reheat cup by cup in the microwave, or in a pot.  Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Glühwein: Germany’s Mulled Wine

  1. I love how you share the history of your recipes. I can’t wait to try this!!

    • Thank you, Sue! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  2. OMG this looks/sounds amazing! I love mulled wine, it;s so perfect for the holiday season, can’t wait to try it!

    • It is one of my favorite treats of the season! Enjoy 🙂

  3. I’m totally going to make this for our Christmas Eve drink this year. I’m sure my mother-in-law will love it! Thanks so much for sharing it. Just love hearing the history of traditions and how others celebrate them <3 Blessed holiday to you!

    • Thank you! I hope you enjoy the new tradition ♥ Blessed Holiday to you, and yours!

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