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Traditional Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Traditional Gluhwein Recipe

Visit Germany at this time of year, particularly the Rheinland, and you’re certain to run into one of the world-famous German markets. There 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.

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!

Traditional 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.

Traditional 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!

The entire bottle of mulled wine should set you back around £5, especially at this time of the year when there are plenty of alcohol sales about.

138 replies on “Traditional Glühwein (Mulled Wine)”

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.


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!

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!

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!

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!

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! 😉

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!!

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.

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!

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.

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).

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! 🙂

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!

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. 🙂

[…] Glühwein (German Mulled Wine) After eating so much, and sampling all these intense flavours, it’s a must to ready the tongue for what is yet to come. Wash it all down with a goblet of mulled German wine. Sinterklaas (That’s Santa Claus in German) will be happy to know that you’re honouring his homeland! […]

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