The Global Punch Bowl

Recipe: German Glühwein

Image Credit: Leela Cyd

When it comes to holiday drinking, eggnog is only the beginning. Many cultures and cuisines proudly claim a Christmas punch and this week we're bringing you The Global Punch Bowl with five festive punches, each with a story of their own.

Look to the people who survive winters with only a few hours of sunlight each day for the coziest and most heart-warming holiday drinks. The answer, according to Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, and Danes? Mulled wine. There are different regional variations, and the recipe itself is always more of a guideline than a rulebook. This recipe is for the German Glühwein, which literally translates to glow-wine, because of how you feel after you've been drinking tiny mugs outside in December.

Germans tend to keep it pretty basic, but you can experiment and add cardamom, vanilla, ginger, or even black pepper. In the Nordic countries, they add blanched almonds and raisins to their gløgg!

Image Credit: Leela Cyd

Glühwein is traditionally served at stalls at Christmas markets across Germany and Austria to keep people warm as they shop and socialize. Here is a basic recipe that will make Glühwein like you would get at a German Christmas market. In fact, many commercial Christmas markets simply reheat a pre-sweetened and pre-spiced mix, so this will likely taste even better.

Warm, Don't Boil

Mulling wine is not exactly rocket science, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. The first and most important rule? Do not let the wine boil or you will boil off the alcohol! I tend to let it heat gently for about 20 minutes before my guests arrive. It's also not worth spending a ton of money on the wine here. Any dry red wine, from Chianti to Cabernet Sauvignon, will work. The recipe scales very easily for a smaller post-dinner cuddle-up or a holiday crowd. And then there's the optional Schuss, or shot of hard liquor (usually rum or amaretto). I tend to order and make my Glühwein without it — especially if it's the first of several glasses — but it does keep you warmer!

Image Credit: Leela Cyd