Mulled wine — the German winter favorite with a twist

by Leonie Milde
contributing writer

Glühwein, which literally translates to ‘glow wine,’ is a staple at every outdoor event throughout the winter months. It lets you continue to take advantage of your convenient location in the heart of Rheinland-Pfalz’s wine region without sacrificing any fingers as you’re watching snow fall on the romantically lit Christmas markets you will spend your holiday season at. And because we know there are days when you just don’t want to go outside but still crave a cup of liquid Christmas joy, here are 6 ways to make it at home: all you need to do is heat the wine, making sure it never boils or the alcohol will boil away, either add all ingredients straight to the wine or put them in a tea filter and let it sit for at least half an hour before reheating. Pour through a strainer or take out bag of spices. Serve hot.

Red Classic
You can never go wrong with a classic red wine and cinnamon!
1 bottle of dry red wine of choice
1 orange, sliced
2 sticks of cinnamon
3 cloves
2 – 3 tablespoons honey, agave syrup or sugar — Photo by anitasstudio /


Red Cranberry
If you like sweet and fruity drinks, this variation was made for you.
1 bottle of dry red wine of choice
17 ounces cranberry juice
2-3 ounces orange liquor (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 apple, sliced
optional: dried cranberries (add before serving) — Photo by Oksana Shufrych /


Apple wine
Being a Hessian staple, this could not be missing on my list. Apple wine is far less sweet than one would presume and generally diluted with either lemonade or water so don’t leave that step out or it may taste too bitter.
1 bottle of apple wine of choice
3-4 ounces water
3 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves
2 lemons, sliced — Photo by Irina Rostokina /


White vanilla
Try a white take on the classic mulled wine.
1 bottle of dry, white wine of choice
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cloves
2 star anise pods
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon “gingerbread spice” (look for ‘Lebkuchengewürz’ at any German supermarket)
1 vanilla bean
3-4 tablespoons sugar, honey or agave nectar — Photo by Lyudvig Aristarhovich /


White Apple
Apple and cinnamon will warm your heart on gloomy afternoons while the rum adds just a hint of beachy sunshine to your cup.
1 bottle of dry white wine of choice
13 ounces strong apple tea
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
1 organic orange, sliced
1-2 ounces brown rum
3 tablespoons honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 apple, thinly sliced (add just before reheating) — Photo by Roman Stetsyk /