Saturday, December 24, 2011

Glühwein: Bringing a little bit of Germany to my Christmas Eve

When my husband and I were living in Germany, one of the things we loved to do around the holidays was visit all of the different Christmas markets and soak in the ambiance of Christmastime in Europe.

My favorite part of the Christmas markets was the vendors selling Glühwein, or what we know as mulled wine. As much as I hate the cold, sipping warm Glühwein as you hold the warm, steaming mug to your cold hands is enough to turn the heart of any Scrooge.

When we returned home to the U.S. back in 2005, one of the traditions I wish we could have continued was visiting Christmas markets. Since we don't have any authentic German Christmas markets nearby (there's one in Chicago that we're definitely going to have to visit one of these days), I'll just have to settle for making my own Glühwein, which I do every Christmas Eve when our family comes over for dinner.

Everyone who comes over loves this warm, comforting liquid, but no one loves it more than me, as it is steeped in warm memories and nostalgic longing.

As I write this post, I have my crock pot, all of my souvenir mugs from Germany, and all the ingredients standing by for me to make later. I can taste its sweet warmth even now.

I can look at each mug and be transported back to that particular Christmas market. I remember each and every one: Rothenburg, Munich, Nuremberg, and Schweinfurt. All of them were similar, and yet they each had something special about them because each town square provides a unique backdrop to give them their own individual ambiance.

Looking at these mugs automatically brings me back to all of these different Christmas markets

My favorite souvenir mug: a boot from the 2004 Nuremberg Christmas market


1 bottle red wine (whatever you like)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
10 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
juice of 1 orange
rind of 1 orange

Bring water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to boil until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to a simmer and add in OJ. Poke cloves through orange rind and add along with wine. Keep warm in a crockpot on low. Keep it going all day and it will make your house smell wonderful, or in my case, bring you right back to Germany.

2004 Nuremberg Christmas market
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday that includes something warm and comforting to drink! :)


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your memories...what a lovely tradition to mark the season - I bet your house smells wonderful right about now :)

    That boot mug is certainly one of a kind -- almost too pretty to drink from!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  2. I absolutely love your boot-shaped mug! Soooo cute.

    I've always wanted to try this sort of mulled wine. It sounds so warming and festive that I can imagine the smell just thinking about it.

  3. I adore your mugs -- that boot mug is the cutest.

    I've never made mulled wine and had no idea it was so easy. I'll have to give it a try this winter.

  4. I have a crockpot recipe for this, but never tried it. I like your recipe better. Could be lovely for New Year's Eve!

  5. I love Gluhwein! I wanted to get some at World Market but my (party pooper) husband claims he doesn't like it. They also, at World Market, have baumkuchen though which was very exciting to me! Germany definitely knows how to celebrate in a festive way. One of these days I want to make a trip to the holiday markets in Munchen!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy your Gluhwein!

  6. What a nice post! Thanks for sharing. Will try it soon. Merry Christmas

  7. I LOVE this, thank you for sharing! I've never had gluhwein, or even heard of it (the German name, anyway)- so I'm excited to try it.

    I love hearing about your Christmas memories of Germany. Wonderful stuff!