Traditional Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Traditional Gluhwein Recipe

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!

Mulled Wine 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.

How To Make Traditional German Gluhwein

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.

Mulled Wine Recipe

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!

138 comments on “Traditional Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

  1. Somer
    December 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Looks like you’ve got it spot on. I don’t drink, but I do make a lovely mulled cider at Christmastime 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      I hope so! Mulled cider recipe might have to wait until next year now… weather is too bad. Though I might have a chance on Monday!

  2. susanevershed
    December 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm


  3. Patch
    December 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Sounds yummy, love the idea of adding cardomom, but I would absolutely have to add orange instead of lemon.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Haha – that’s entirely your prerogative…

  4. Decorum DIYer
    December 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I’ve been wanting to make some mulled wine. It is getting a bit too chilly to enjoy a glass of chilled wine.

  5. Alexandria J
    December 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I am soooooo making this!

  6. 8020sund
    December 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    This looks so good:) I’ll be making my own Danish version (gløgg) tonight.

  7. katievaz
    December 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Love glühwein! 🙂 This looks so festive!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      It is 😀 – it’s so delicious.

      • Libby Coffin
        December 27, 2012 at 12:52 am

        My daughter-in-law is a flight attendant for Delta. This past weekend they flew into Frankfurt and stayed in Meihn (sp). She brought back the freeze-dried seasonings. She tasted various cups of “mulled wine” at the Christmas market. Some had sugar if one wanted to add some. However, there was one shop that had added amaretto which she says was very good.

        There are no directions so I am going to guess what it might be for a cup by looking at the recipe above.


        • frugalfeeding
          December 28, 2012 at 6:21 pm

          Enjoy experimenting – I tend to like to stick to more traditional means myself 😀

  8. Alex
    December 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I’m addicted to mulled wine in this time of the year

  9. Sibella at
    December 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Sounds excellent! I will try your recipe this weekend.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you, let me know how it goes!

      • Sibella at
        December 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

        Nick, I tried your recipe yesterday. I added some orange slices to it and reduced lemon. It was fantastic! Making some more for the New Years Eve. Thank you!

  10. Chelsey
    December 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Out of curiosity, what do you think would happen if you decided to forgo the sugar and use a sweet red wine instead?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Bad things… to be honest, I don’t know. You could do that, but may need a little sugar still.

      • Chelsey
        December 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm

        I will keep that in mind. Thanks! =)

  11. Bluejellybeans
    December 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    A group of friends and I call ourselves the glühweine girls, because this drink is a must every year on our Christmas dinner. One of the girls is German, so she’s in charge of the weine…now I can make my private batch 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Haha – brilliant! I’m sure she’d love it 😀

  12. gettysburggirl
    December 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks so much. I love mulled wines. Now I just have to convert ml to cups.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      There’s a link to measurement conversions at the top.

  13. trendbytes
    December 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I lived in Germany for a year and still have fond memories of the Christmas markets and how the gluhwein complimented the bracing cold. Thanks so much for sharing…I will be making this!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Fantastic – me too, though I’ve not lived there. I hope you do.

  14. Granny
    December 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Hoooo! I do not drink, but this does seem absolutely irresistibly delicious. Have a great Holiday season!

  15. MonkeyBreadandSweetPea
    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I’m having a wine tasting party next month, but I always have a signature cocktail at my annual party. I’m thinking this might be a great twist on the “specialty drink”. Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Great! I think this would definitely be perfect!

  16. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome
    December 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Awesome job! Going to making some of this for the in-laws whoa re coming north from Florida and will need something to take the chill off here in Chicago.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Peter! Let me know how it goes down – a taste of Germany.

  17. Susan at Savvy Single Suppers
    December 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Cheers, mate! Happy Christmas to you from Ottawa, Canada where we received 25 cm snow today . . . 5 – 15 more expected in next 12 hours. I suspect there will be many snow shovellers looking for just this sort of fortification.

  18. Anna
    December 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Every year the christmas markets pop up in Berlin, every year we indulge in the bratwurst, flammkuchen and Glühwein and every year we forget how rough a Glühwein hangover can be!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      OH yes, Flammkuchen – that has to be made in the New Year… 😀

  19. BlueCrumbles
    December 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Great recipe!
    Mine is pretty similar but instead of the water I use orange juice 🙂
    Have a wonderful christmas!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks! I used the lemon juice, I just feel it needs water 😀

  20. neilirving
    December 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Glad liked my post, funny the notification email came through just as the wife and I where enjoying some mulled wine

  21. petit4chocolatier
    December 23, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Yum, this would taste lovely with your chili bark too!! Cloves and nutmeg = delicious!!

  22. Textbooks and Tea Cakes
    December 23, 2012 at 1:20 am

    This looks lovely. Your photos here are absolutely stunning! Gorgeous colors.


  23. Michelle
    December 23, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Love the photo of the star anise!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks, Michelle – I like getting arty with spices 😀

  24. baconbiscuit212
    December 23, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Beautiful photos, Nick! And I agree: use an inexpensive, fruity red!

  25. seamlessstyle
    December 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Mmmm mulled wine. I was in Germany for three months a few years ago and tried this – brilliant.

  26. Maryanne
    December 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    this leaves me with fantastic memories of my winter in Europe—-mulled wine is called Bluewine in Amsterdam (sp?) -the Gluhwein in Germany was sold everywhere!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Glad I brought them back. Never been to Amsterdam I’m afraid! Interesting though.

  27. narf77
    December 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Aside from making Stollen for the first time this year, I have done precious little to celebrate my German heritage and consider me blatently ashamed for my actions thanks to this post. I actually have some Glühwein cups that have been languishing in the spare room wardrobe that I might just pull out and dust off. Steve should be happy that I am actually pushing alcohol this year rather than sighing about the vast quantities of it that seem to disappear everywhere that he appears…the only thing is…Glühwein served chilled? It kind of loses something in the translation doesn’t it but the alternative…hot cups of spiced wine on a 30C day might just be a stretch too far for this Aussie to go! 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Tut, tut… gluhwein is best not served chilled – we reheated it on Christmas Day and it went down very well! Hot drinks actually cool you down eventually, I believe.

  28. condimentlove
    December 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    i searched the city to find these ingredients and i’m in luck!! this will definitely make christmas in ukraine merry and bright : )

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      yay – enjoy! Thanks!

      • condimentlove
        December 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

        i made this for christmas day, it’s WONDERFUL! i don’t think i’ll want to drink wine any other way now : )

  29. Rebecca
    December 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I love mulled wine and you’ve made me brave enough to try this on my own!

  30. Vinna
    December 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Oooh I miss Christmas markets in Europe…and Glühwein!!! Not all Christmas market Glühwein is good though – one time I had one that’s like lighter fluid (in Estonia) well if I imagine that’s what lighter fluid tastes like… Your version looks really good. Yum!! Have a merry christmas!!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Oh blimey, that isn’t good – I’ve only ever been to good ones! Merry Christmas!

  31. Pasta Princess
    December 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

  32. Nadia
    December 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Lovely post and I can attest you, your recipe is authentic! And you are right, the Christmas markets outside the country are just not the same. We have one here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, supposedly one of the nicest in the US. I visited for the first time this year and was shocked to find it INDOORS. Sipping Glühwein while stepping from one foot to the other to keep the circulation in your toes going, is part of the German Christmas market experience.

  33. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    December 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    There is absolutely nothing about this that I don’t like. Merry Christmas!

  34. trendbytes
    December 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    We enjoyed your recipe last night and it was wonderful and easy as can be! Thanks so much for sharing!

  35. southbyse
    December 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Great pictures!

  36. mrswebbinthekitchen
    December 28, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Mmmm… Christmas may be over, but as I haven’t yet made this, I think I must keep celebrating!

  37. Lebinh
    December 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Fantastic photos! thanks for dropping by!

  38. Chica Andaluza
    December 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Looking forward to giving this version a go – love the idea of cardamom and start anise!

  39. Joy is now
    December 29, 2012 at 9:39 am

    How did I miss this? Wish I had used your recipe. Mine had no water, no star anise or cinnamon stick and far too much sugar. I managed to get through it somehow anyway – hic!!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

      That’s a shame! Keep an eye out more often :D.

  40. sugarfreeme28
    December 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Soo Christmassy

  41. roodonfood
    December 30, 2012 at 12:29 am

    This is a favorite. I’ll give this a go and report back. Looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  42. fairfoodfieldnotes
    December 30, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I love mulled wine- when I studied abroad in Russia we called it glintvejn and drank it every day! Looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

  43. sweetandsourcabbage
    December 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    This looks delicious! I need to try it!

  44. lizziegrigio
    December 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I made this Christmas Night- it hit the spot and made the night perfect! Thanks for sharing!!!

  45. heatherinsf
    December 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    It’s so chilly today, I wish I had seen this a week ago!

  46. lldjewelry
    December 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve never had mulled wine before, but it definitely looks like a drink to savor and warm the toes on a cold winter night.

  47. veggietude
    January 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I loved mulled wine! And I just saw a show about the German Xmas markets…beautiful.

  48. sannekurz
    January 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Definitely each German family has THE Glühwein recipe. I’m born and bred in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, close to the Rhine river and the French-German border.
    We’d never use any water in our Glühwein, add orange and/or mandarine instead of the lemon and less sugar.
    After my parents divorced 25 years ago, my father’s side developed an extra trick. New family, new Glühwein! He does it now as I do but with added nutmeg and bay leaf…sounds strange but it: delicious!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      I achieved the desired effect in any case :D.

  49. gailkav
    January 3, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I love star anise – I will be making this!

  50. realocalcooking
    January 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Went to Maastricht, NL for a few days post-Christmas and drank mugs of Gluwein at the Christmas market. 😉 Mulled way is the best way to make cold winter nights cozy. Will have to give your recipe a try…I’m sure it will bring back good memories.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Fantastic – I’m sure it will… it did for me.

  51. judibrereton
    January 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you for liking my ‘bugs and ice-cubes’ post. Glad you enjoyed it!!

  52. Forestwoodfolkart
    January 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Your recipe sounds good. I will definitely try next year. Thanks for posting. HOpe it is ok if I reblog.

  53. greenandclean
    January 5, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Your photos are beautiful!

  54. katrinamillen
    January 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I LOVE mulled wine!!!!! will definitely be having a go at this 🙂

  55. Kimberley @ Fruit Salad & Mixed Veg
    May 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    This looks good. I’ve been looking for Gluehwein recipes that do not require CUPS of sugar and yours is the first I came across. I hope I am able to make this on the weekend.

  56. Luke
    November 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    If you are a real gourmet, use dry white wine instead of red wine to prepare your Glühwein.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Perhaps I’ll give it a shot – though I’ve never seen white gluhwein anywhere in Germany?! Is it particular to a certain region?

      • Stephanie Foerst
        December 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

        I just came back from a river cruise down the Danube (starting in Passau, Germany and ending in Budapest) and saw weiss gluhwein at almost at markets. Didn’t try it though. I swear the guy at a candy shop we were at in passau said that his gluhwein actually contained both red and white wines (less white than red, was still red and not rose in color).

        • frugalfeeding
          December 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

          It probably depends where you are – regional variations etc. The gluhwein I’ve had in German markets has almost always been just red wine. I am tempted to do a weiss gluhwein recipe!

      • Anne
        December 20, 2013 at 5:42 pm

        I believe white glühwein has gained some popularity over recent years. Last year I had one glass in Aachen’s Christmas market, but still, I think red glühwein is the best! 🙂

  57. Karista
    December 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Love this recipe Nick! I had a mulled wine recipe years ago and darn if I can’t find it or remember it. I’ve got all the ingredients on hand and I’m making it this afternoon. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Karista! I hope it turns out well 🙂

  58. chef mimi
    December 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I’ve never had mulled wine in Germany, but I’ve traveled to London in December and had it, and I was quite impressed! These photos are outstanding, by the way.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you very much! You should try it yourself for sure!

  59. Bel
    August 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Ah, yes, now that Christmas is approaching fast (ducks) I can look forward to going to the Christmas market and having some Glühwein. Adding some rum(?), raisins and almonds to it and calling it glögg seems to be all the rage now here. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      August 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Very quickly… too quickly… h yes, glogg – I might give that a shot this Winter. Thanks!

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