Monday, November 22, 2010

German Holiday Traditions: Glühwein

It is my dream to one day visit Germany during the Christmas season so I can experience the magic of and, let's face it, abundance of delicious food at the Weihnachtsmärkte. Yes, I would be sure to hit more than one of their festive holiday markets because I doubt just one would be enough to satisfy me. I can't even imagine how much weight I'd gain feasting on everything from the Gebrannte Mandeln (candied almonds) to the bratwurst, something I'd ordinarily turn my nose up at any other time of the year. Not to mention the pounds of marzipan I'd smuggle home in my suitcase. One trip could lead to a five-month-long eating binge if I play my cards right.

Glühwein is a hot mulled wine, perfect for warming one's bones while wandering through an outdoor market in Germany. I'd imagine it's also perfect for curling up in front of the fireplace while gearing up for Christmas. While it's a bit early for Christmas treats when we haven't even gotten through November, I figure a glass or two of this might help you survive Thanksgiving so you can live to see December. Especially if your family's anything like mine!

I'm not sure if the recipe I followed is anywhere close to authentic but, likely because of the addition of liberal amounts of sugar, I found it to be the first wine I could actually stand to drink. I found several different recipes out there that vary widely so if this one doesn't strike your fancy feel free to poke around the net yourself and experiment. Some recipes called for lemons instead of oranges and different proportions of spices. I quite like the strong orange flavor in this one and the sweetness from the orange juice and sugar.

Recipe adapted from Dreaming of Winter

2 cups red wine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
One orange, cut into slices
8 whole cloves
Juice from one orange, strained to remove pulp
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
4 whole allspice
Brandy (optional)

1) Stick the whole cloves into the orange slices and combine everything in a pot. For an extra kick add some brandy. (I didn't because I'm a lightweight.) Heat over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and being careful to not let it boil.
2) Taste and add more sugar if desired. Continue to heat over low temperature, again making sure it doesn't boil, for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Strain out the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon or ladle carefully and drink up! If you're feeling especially generous this holiday season you could even share with friends.


Unknown said...

My brother's wife's mom (My mother in law, in law?? What the heck do I call her?) Is off the boat German ;) I love when she makes this for the holiday gatherings!

Carol, The Answer Is Chocolate said...

We were watching a special recently on Christmas traditions in Europe and it featured an incredible market in Germany. Don't know if it was the same one but it looked magical. So many beautiful ornaments, nutcrackers, foods, and a bakery that had more gingerbread than I've ever seen. I wanted to crawl through the TV!

Shell said...

Yes it's gluhwein season here in Germany. If you're not a wine drinker that stuff is HORRID! There's no sugar added to it that I can tell & its just plain nasty to me. I prefer the kinderpunch which is the kids version of gluhwein. I think I saw where you can order it on amazon but I did warn you lol. The crepes with nutella are prefect treats to warm your hands at the cold markets & get my vote every year.

Shell said...

Oh yeah I think your picture is of the market in Wurzburg. I hope to hit the one in Cologne and/or Frankfurt this year.

Kitty Deschanel said...

What a beautiful photo! I suppose it'll seem even more magical after I have a mug of Gluhwein ;)

Thanks for the recipe! I'm planning a holiday party and have been looking out for drink ideas.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Stunning photo! And the recipe looks delish on a cold night. It's starting to snow here tonight and makes me want to drink lots of hot bevvys.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog! How nutty is it that I'm an American in Wurzburg (nice photo BTW), loving all things German? Come on over, the market opened this weekend. The 'Dummkopf' platzchen - classic! I'm inspired to make one for my hubby now. Happy creations from, tj

Bella @ Bella before and after said...

This so reminds me of my family sipping HOT wine with pepper, around the holidays. I don't think we have a fancy name for it, but they always drink it, I hate wine, so I've never tasted it, lol, but this actually LOOKS good, but even then, I doubt I woud try it personally. Maybe I can make some for my family though, and let them know its a GERMAN thing, he he, that would be awesome.

Bella :)