Mulled wine, aka Glühwein in German, is one of the most wicked drinks ever devised. And even though our Fall weather has been unbelievably mild, with no freezing weather before Thanksgiving a likelihood, our old French/US hybrid double boiler has been getting a workout. Here’s a classic German mulled wine recipe.
1/2 bottle Red Wine
1 slice Lemon with five Cloves
5 Cardamom seeds
1 stick Cinnamon
Sugar to taste
Heat this combo until it reaches the boiling point, but do not let it boil. We have been so overly enthusiastic that I even hopped on the flea bay train, and bought a couple of those little German Christmas market mulled wine mugs from the Munich Christmas market, the Münchner Christkindlmarkt. An explanation of why the markets are called “Christ Child Markets” deserves a dissertation.
Martin Luther, in his tireless pursuit of reform, put a bullseye on Christmas, the most holy of holy days. Pre-Luther, presents were exchanged on December 6, which is Saint Nicholas’ Day. Saint Nick himself was the present bearer. Luther was having none of that.
Luther said presents should be exchanged on December 24, which is still the custom in Germany. Additionally, no Catholic saints were to be allowed- the Christkind, or Christ child, would deliver the goods personally. The Christ child was an invisible spirit of Christmas, which came to be considered to be a teenaged young woman. I’ll take the Christkind over a big fat guy every time.
Nürnberg (Nuremberg), a city that knows how to do Christmas properly, has the most famous Christkind around, a young woman who is elected to serve a two year term, beginning each year at Advent. She wears a white robe with gold threads, a long blonde wig, and a gold crown. The Christkind opens the yearly Nürnberger Christkindlsmarkt with a traditional speech, which is among the finest of Christmas spectacles.
Meanwhile, back to the drink. It can be served with an additional shot of rum, but beware. Too much Christmas spirit is still too much.