Glühwein – German mulled wine

Well winter is decidedly dragging her feet. After five sun-less months in Seattle, I’m ready for summer. But we still have to get through spring and it’s supposed to snow here  tomorrow.

What to do? Make some Gluehwein! Invite some friends over, make a big pot of mulled wine, and put in a chick flick. Laugh and catch up on gossip. Feel the winter melt away. Or just feel warmer.

Gluehwein in Germany is typically only available when the Christmas markets are up which is between the last week of November till Christmas. You could get it at other times but only at the pubs near tourist attractions and then you’d get an odd look for ordering it.

Here’s my recipe for gluehwein that I wrote for my German friend Boris. Kinda ironic, huh? This recipe is a bit different than most mulled wine recipes. I like adding cider to dilute the alcohol and because it is a better medium to extract the flavor of the spices than wine.

Pinot Noir wine is what is usually used in Germany. I recommend using a red wine that is unoaked or low in tannins unless you like a bitter edge to your mulled wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, is not a good choice.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 bottle red wine (I highly recommend Pinot Noir)
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon (see notes)
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons mulling spice (Trader Joe’s etc or use 1/2 teaspoon orange peel, 2 teaspoons allspice, 1 teaspoon cloves, 1 cinnamon stick broken into a few pieces)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • Rum (optional)


Wrap the mulling spice in cheesecloth or put into a tea infuser. The 2 cinnamon sticks can be added in whole and removed before serving.

Bring the juice, cinnamon and spices to a gentle boil over medium heat in a large pot. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the wine. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add sugar to taste and another cup of juice if there is too much wine.

Pour into mugs, add a shot of rum optionally.

Sip and enjoy.




1. Did you read the post on Ceylon Cinnamon? If you have it, I’d recommend using it. The Ceylon cinnamon breaks easily. Just make sure to keep the sticks whole and wrap in cheese cloth or strain any broken bits at the end.  Go ahead and use ceylon cinnamon sticks (counting towards the 2 whole sticks) and cassia cinnamon as part of the mulling spice. You’ll have an intense but deeper notes of cinnamon with the combo!

2. Gluehwein is the same as Glühwein. ü=ue in German.

3. If you’re wondering why I list cinnamon twice, it’s because most commercial muling spice blends include more of the cheaper ingredients like dried orange peel and cloves and less cinnamon.



Filed under Germany, Recipe, Wine

2 responses to “Glühwein – German mulled wine

  1. Boris Schlegel

    That Indian girl did an awesome job writing this recipe and the German guy is now a pretty happy camper. I love to drink Gluehwein and I missed it a lot in the winter. Veena’s recipe saved me from spending another winter without this warming traditional drink. Thank you Veena !

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