Visit Germany at this time of year, particularly the Rheinland, and you’re likely to run into one of the world famous German markets. Of course, they do visit Britain and other places, but the experience isn’t quite the same! At said market, you’ll encounter all manner of German sausage, bratwurst, and sweet breads such as Stollen. However, there is one other commodity that no German market would be complete without; glühwein, or mulled wine. Indeed, one of the most satisfying characteristics of the German markets is witnessing hoards of people shuffling about in their winter attire, sipping at the rim of a piping hot cup of glühwein (mulled wine). If it’s that feeling you’re after then you need look no further, for you have found just the recipe!
To be honest, it’s somewhat tricky to develop a recipe for truly traditional glühwein – as with most things everyone appears to have a slightly different method by which they make it. Still, by reading four or five different, supposedly authentic, recipes one is able to infer roughly what should and shouldn’t be present. Cloves, cinnamon and red wine are, of course, requirements. However, sugar and water are less frequently used. As you might imagine, things get even greyer when one attempts to throw in cardamom and star anise. As for the lemon, citrus fruit is a must in a good glühwein recipe!
With regards to the sugar and water, I feel they are entirely necessary. Without the water glühwein is a little bit too much of a kick in the face and without the sugar it fails to achieve the levels of comforting viscosity required. The land lies similarly with the cardamom and star anise, since they add rather a lot to the general spiciness of the drink! This recipe really is spot on – I hope you’re looking forward to my recipe for mulled cider!
Traditional Glühwein (mulled wine)
Makes roughly 800ml
• 750ml dry red wine, nothing fancy
• 100ml water
• 3-4 tbsp sugar, depending on taste
• Half a lemon, sliced
• 3 cloves
• 3 cardamom pods
• 1 star anise
• 1 cinnamon stick
1. Throw everything into a heavy bottom saucepan and heat over a high flame, reduce the temperature after a minute or so and allow to simmer, without boiling, for 1-2 hours.
2. Portion out – it should be enough for 4 – or set aside to cool a little, remove the ingredients and bottle for use in a week or two.
Cost: The only truly expensive item on the list is the red wine, though you needn’t go all out since a bad wine will lose its unpleasant edge anyway. In fact, if you use an expensive wine then you’re a brute! Indeed, the entire bottle of mulled wine should set one back around £5, especially at this time of the year when there are plenty of alcohol sales about. Wine Lovers Online sells a collection of wine kits at reasonable prices. Very frugal, I hope you’ll agree!