Holiday Drinks, Part One–German Mulled Wine, aka Gluhwein

I’m Thinking Meyer Lemon in our Glühwein

Another great German Christmas tradition, like our magic hi-tech bathroom scales. After gaining seven pounds in one week, I magically lost four pounds yesterday. Nothing like some endless entertainment. Here’s some stuff for the drink.


750 mm Bottle of Red Wine

1 cup Sugar

A few Cardamom Seeds

1 Cinnamon stick

3 slices of Citrus, studded with Cloves (for obvious reasons, we use Meyer Lemons)

This recipe can be scaled up or down without problem. The sugar portion will have to be modified according to the sweetness of the wine. Next, all you need is the proper batterie de cuisine–

The Heavy Artillery

A multi pound outfit like this is not necessary, but the German Glühwein warmer is very handy. All you need is a pan to warm the wine in, and a serving vessel that will keep it warm. I like a double boiler because it is practically impossible to boil the drink in one, and boiling is the death of a good Glühwein. Now time for some history.

500 years ago this year, Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Catholic Church, thus starting the protestant revolution that is still ongoing. In order to wipe out the worst excesses of the church, Luther went as far as to change even the day when Christmas presents are given, from December 6, to December 24.

Likewise, the Catholic St. Nicholas was given the heave ho, and replaced by the Christkind, an invisible spirit. Over the years the Christkind’s image has evolved to be that of a teenage girl with long curly blond hair, and the wings of an angel. The most famous human portrayal of the Christkind is the one who rules over the Christkindlsmarkt (Christmas Market) in Nürnberg.

Soon enough Melanie Jane and I will be setting around with a glass of Glühwein, waiting for the Christkind to appear. For some reason, we never see her. Maybe it’s too much Glühwein.

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