We may have to miss out on the classic German Christmas Markets this year. No German Gemütlichkeit around Glühwein, gingerbread and spekulatius? Hold your breath, as many German cities are mulling over Christmas market alternatives such as spreading out stalls over the city centers – yet in times of Covid19 any plan may get scrapped quickly.
But why miss out on the Glühwein if you can prepare it yourself? Here are do-it-yourself recipes for mulled wines from German Great Wine Capital Mainz.
In cities looking back at roman times – Mainz under roman rule from 50 bc to 400 ad – the idea of spicing up wine is not new at all. In one of the world’s first cookbooks, published around 50 ad the roman Marcus Apicius recommends blending wine and honey with mastic, laurel leaves, saffron, and dates. A version of the recipe with contemporary measurements has been published in Ancientrecipes.
We fast forward to contemporary versions of Glühwein – usually available at German Christmas markets and also absolutely dyi-friendly. In fact, you are free to experiment with amounts and ingredients. Scandinavians for instance add thinly sliced almonds, or raisins. But here are some basic Glühwein recipes to start with:
The Classic Glühwein
Warm 1,5 l of inexpensive unoaked red wine (do not boil!), preferably a sweet red wine, carrying natural unfermented sugars. Add 4 thinly sliced oranges – organic ones, so you can leave the peel on. Season with 2 star-anise, 3-4 cloves, two sticks of cinnamon. Add sugar to taste, and spike with your favorite inexpensive brandy. Let lightly simmer for at least 30 minutes and remove the spices before serving.
The Apple Glühwein
Warm about 1,5 l of cider, preferably unfiltered and sweet. Steep 3-4 cloves, two sticks of cinnamon, slices of two lemons. Add a shot of brown rum. For the kids-friendly version replace the cider by fresh apple juice and skip the rum.
Now, how about a quite particular version of a Glüh-uh-drink?
Warm 2 Liter dark Beer with ½ l Cherry juice, season with 2 star anise, 4 cloves, half a lemon (thinly sliced), 3-4 generous spoonful of honey, and 2 cinammon sticks. Again: do not boil, just warm to a light simmer and let sit for the spices to do their magic.
The key ingredients to all these recipes though comes last – a cold winter night, a bonfire (don warm boots) and add some properly distanced friends and neighbours performing “Oh Du Fröhliche”. The singing bit is optional.
Have a great run up to Christmas, folks!