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I quite liked Glühwine from the first time I tasted it. It was in Freiburg, Germany while spending Christmas vacations. Freiburg is the closest German town we have to Franco-German-Swiss borders.

Going by the chilly European winters, it is no wonder that some one had to 'invent' the use of hot, mulled wine with spices to keep cold at bay. While the exact story of the origin of Glühwine is not established, having it in Germany is a fitting tribute to its place of origin!

Parisians, and others who are far from Germany, need not despair. With a bit of motivation and enterprise, you can prepare your own Glühwine in a few quick and easy steps. Here's how to do it 


What will you need:

  • I bottle of red wine (any supermarket type of red wine will do, no need to buy super expensive varieties)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken in several pieces)
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 3-4 cardamoms
  • 1 orange or lemon- optional (rind to be added to the preparation or slices for garnishing)


Directions to follow:

  • Pour the wine in a heavy bottomed pan and let it heat slowly over low fire/ heat.
  • As the wine begins to simmer, add the sugar and whole spices.
  • Allow the sugar to dissolve.
  • Let it stay over low heat for 15-20 minutes. (make sure that it does not come to the boiling point, to prevent the evaporation of Alcohol).
  • Add the lemon/ orange. Strain.
  • Serve hot in Glasses or cups (heat resistant). If you are afraid that the glass may break with hot liquid, put a spoon in the glass while pouring.
  • Garnish with orange slices.
  • If it is not for ready consumption, you may store in a hermetic jar/ bottle. Strain off the whole spices & lemon rind before storage.
  • Heat slowly for 5-10 minutes before serving. You may add lemon/ orange slices to a warm Glühwine soon before serving if you had not used these ingredients at the time of preparation.



  • There are several versions of Glühwine available in different European countries. The spices may vary as per the local taste, but the 'concept' of hot wine mulled with spices and sugar remains the same.
  • Called vin chaud (hot wine) in French, vin brulé (burnt wine!) in Italian, glogg, glegg or gloggi in Nordic countries, it can be enjoyed with beignets de pomme or apple dumplings.
  • Dry 'Glühwine' mixture is available commercially in several countries. One can add the dry mixture to any red wine to have an instant Glühwine.


Any amateur of this hot, mulled wine would rather prefer to prepare their own concoction. However imperfect, there is sheer joy to be found by indulging in the spicy aromas blending with the intoxicating alcohol, over a low fire. One can only get closer to perfection with each succeeding try. 

Here's to your health and happiness in this festive season.  

Santé! (Cheers!) 


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