Christmas and New Year’s may be over, but winter is here to stay–at least for a few more months. Gluhwein, the German version of Mulled Red Wine, is the perfect way to chase away the chill of a winter’s day. Gluhwein is festive, easy to make and a satisfying beverage after a day of skiing or snowboarding.
When choosing a red wine for Gluhwein, use one that is fruity, dry and not oaky. A merlot or pinot noir works well. You do not need to use an expensive bottle of wine as you will be adding spices and citrus, which will alter the subtleties prized in expensive wine. Still, skip the Two-Buck Chuck and opt for a slightly nicer wine–you won’t regret it.
This recipe was given to me by my sister Caroline, who received it from acquaintances who own a winery in Germany.
½ orange, slice
½ lemon, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise (this is a spice worth seeking if you don’t already own it)
¼ cup sugar (more or less to taste)
200 ml water (slightly less than 1 cup)
750 ml fruity, dry red wine
2 Tablespoons brandy (more or less to taste) (optional)
Make the Gluhwein
In a large pot, combine the orange slices, lemon slices, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Once the sugar dissolves and the spices have infused the sugar water, turn the heat down to low and pour in the red wine and brandy, stirring to incorporate into spice mixture. Heat the Gluhwein until steaming but not boiling. Do not boil the Gluhwein; doing so will evaporate the alcohol.
Serve immediately. If there is still Gluhwein leftover within one hour of making it, remove the orange and lemon slices so they do not impart a bitter taste to the Gluhwein.