German Gluhwein is famous by many names – mulled wine, Vin Chaid, glogg – but no matter the region, this is one particular Christmas drink that Europeans cannot get enough of.
Gluhwein is an integral part of German Christmas festivities where people in their homes and outside enjoy it all the same. But those who are new to this drink might want to know how exactly you enjoy this German wine?
In a nutshell, you traditionally drink Gluhwein hot (but not scalding) in ceramic cups either while shopping in a Christmas market or with loved ones over festive family dinners. However, you do not have to have Gluhwein just at Christmas.
You can enjoy this hot, spiced wine as soon as there is a chill in the air (and you do not have to visit Germany for it).
Read on our comprehensive guide on how to serve and drink Gluhwein the right way, as well as some contemporary ideas to consume the (sometimes) boozy beverage.
How To Serve Gluhwein
Traditionally, in a German Christmas, you get Gluhwein in ceramic cups (more on this further down the article).
However, how should you serve Gluhwein at home?
Whether it’s the premixed bottled variety or a concoction you’ve cooked up on your stove with several fall spices and citrus rinds, Gluhwein can be served in ceramic mugs at home, too – it’s budget-friendly and nuanced with tradition; what’s not to love?
Serve the spiced wine warm but still hot to touch, with citrus slices poked with cloves. To make the drink even more festival-friendly, you can drop in a cinnamon stick in the mug.
However, if ceramic cups are not your thing, you can go a little fancy too. If you do not want to go for a mug at all, using a stemless wine glass works fine too.
However, since Gluhwein is a hot drink, it is better to go with something with a handle to hold as you sip the wine. But, what if you could come to a compromise?
A crystal glass mug is not only beautiful, but it also comes with a handle, unlike wine glasses. A good choice for serving hot Gluhwein would be Insulated Double Wall Crystal Glass Mugs.
As for the hot wine, you should have it as you would coffee. Sip the drink slowly and take in the aroma. The mulling spices, synonymous with cold weather (like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg), make for a hearty drink, which feels like a warm hug.
Just as the name suggests, Gluhwein (glow wine) makes you feel all cozy from within. However, the name comes from the customary way of mulling wine on hot irons.
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Drinking Gluhwein In German Christmas Markets
It is pretty simple to make Gluhwein at home (a mid-range dry red, fall spices, citrus rind, and sugar; bring it all to a simmer, and you are golden!). It’s even easier to get it in a bottle from a local market.
However, there is just something about having a steaming cup of Gluhwein strolling through a German Christmas market that adds to its magical quality.
In Germany (and other European countries), you can enjoy hot Gluhwein in beautifully designed mugs, especially for that year and the market. These ceramic mugs are colorful and Christmas-themed.
When you pay for the Gluhwein in the market, you pay a deposit (pfand) for the mug. Later on, you can return the mug and collect the deposit to use it for something else (maybe even more Gluhwein) or keep the mug as memorabilia. Many people enjoy collecting these mugs, adding to their collection every year.
The hot drink works as an antidote for the bone-chilling cold in Germany, making it easy to understand its popularity. There is an added shot of liquor, usually rum, to warm you up even further in some cases. Children can also enjoy the non-alcoholic version of Gluhwein called Kinderpunsch.
Best Temperature to Drink Gluhwein
When it comes to drinking Gluhwein the “right” way, you should have it hot. Now, exactly how hot is the question.
Whether you are reheating Gluhwein from a bottle or making it for yourself at home, there is one rule to follow: never let the wine boil, or it will start to taste bitter. Thus, Gluhwein is never served in a boiling state. It’s always heated gently, at a temperature that keeps it just below a boil.
The ideal temperature for Gluhwein is between 70 to 75 ℃ ( 158 – 167℉). Since alcohol starts to evaporate at 78℃ ( 172℉), keeping the Gluhwein temperature well below that is better. Stay around the 70℃ (158℉) mark to ensure the best tasting Gluhwiein.
While it is not really customary to have Gluhwein cold, you can have it chilled.
You will find several recipes online for cold Gluhwein or cold mulled wine. Other than that, you can also buy pre-made mixes that you can add to white wine and let it sit for a few days before enjoying it as a cold drink.
An easy way to enjoy chilled Gluhwein is to buy a bottle and pop it in the fridge to enjoy later. Alternatively, you can also make it at home, without much effort.
Follow a Gluhwein recipe of your choice and chill the beverage in the fridge for a couple of hours. Pour out in ice-filled glasses, already cold from the freezer, and consume immediately.
German Gluhwein is best drunk hot in ceramic mugs as you roam around Christmas markets in Germany. This hug in a cup is a cold-weather staple in Germany and throughout Europe (although with different names).
However, apart from ceramic mugs, you can also use insulated crystal mugs to serve the hot beverage. Stemless wine glasses can work well, too, if you are particularly not fond of cups, but having a handle to hold is always favorable when having a hot drink.
When serving Gluhwein, keep the temperature around 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) so the alcohol does not evaporate, making the concoction volatile. Moreover, you can also enjoy Gluhwein cold by refrigerating the wine for at least two hours.
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