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Gluhwein

History books and websites show that mulled wine dates back to around 500 BC, when spices and herbs were added to wine for health reasons. Mulled Wine also has a history as a cold drink, although the products we consume across Europe today, are hot drinks.

Gluhwein is one of the most famous mulled wines, and is traditionally associated with Germany and German speaking countries. A warming drink often served during winter, it has become a favourite during the ski season, and is often enjoyed at Christmas, or sold at Germany’s famous Christmas Markets called Weihnachtsmarkt.

Although there are often recipe variations in different areas of Germany, a traditional Gluhwein will consist of red wine, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, lemons and sugar. Vanilla is sometimes added, and red wine can be substituted for white, while some Gluhwein recipes will contain different levels of nutty or citrus flavours. If you find Gluhwein at a Christmas Market, you may also have the option of adding a shot of rum or liquer to your drink.

Although traditionally an alcoholic drink for adults, berry juices can be used for a children’s version of the drink as well. Children and adults alike will all enjoy the iced ginger biscuits that are often served with Gluhwein too.

German Christmas Markets offer customers the chance to enjoy a warming Christmas drink of Gluhwein while shopping, or buy a bottle of the drink to take home and warm up. Some Christmas Markets or speciality shops in Germany will also stock ‘tea bags’ of spices which you can use to make your own Gluhwein.

Tourists have also reported a trade in souvenir Gluhwein tankards at Christmas Markets, although a special vessel for drinking this mulled wine in is nothing new. The oldest recorded Gluhwein tankard dates back to 1420, and was in the ownership of a nobleman called Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen.

There are some well-known brands of Gluhwein as well, one of which comes from the historical city of Nuremburg. The famous Christmas Market there produces Christkindl Gluhwein, available online, and in various countries across the world.

Translated, Gluhwein literally means ‘glow wine’, a very apt description of one of Germany’s favourite seasonal drinks. If the weather turns bad this winter, or you just want to add some seasonal cheer to your Christmas drinks menu, why not warm up with a glass (or two) of Gluhwein.

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