Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Brighten up the long winter nights the way Europeans have for centuries with an intensely warming and fragrant drink of hot mulled wine fortified with spices, herbs, fruit and fruit juices, hard alcohol, and a sweetener like honey or sugar, or any combination of those ingredients. This favorite traditional beverage can be found throughout many of Europe’s Christmas Markets with different variations of mulled wine recipes, depending on the region. For example, in Hungary, it is forralt; in France, it’s vin chaud; and in Germany and Austria, it is called glühwein. Even though there are countless varieties, three ingredients remain common across traditions — red or white wine, baking spices such as cloves, and citrus.
Travel on a Danube or Rhine Christmas Markets river cruises on a multi-country tour, and you’ll be able to sample mulled wine as it is prepared by different cultures. No matter what the ingredients are between the heated wine and the spices, it’s the perfect way to warm up, both inside and out.
You can also try this festive Franconian glühwein at home, made with Silvaner or Müller-Thurgau wine, apple juice, fresh citrus fruits, and Franconian plum brandy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
3 cups of white wine (Silvaner or Müller-Thurgau)
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup Franconian plum brandy (optional but recommended, as a little of the alcohol cooks out of the wine)
4 slices of orange
2 slices of lemon
1 stick of cinnamon
1 star anise
5 allspice seeds
3 whole cloves
1 pinch of aniseed
1 tsp. honey (if you prefer it sweeter, add a bit more)
Extra slices of fruit for garnish, if desired
In a medium-sized stock pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients, except for the honey. Stir to combine.
Cover and bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, keeping the lid on, for 10 minutes. Be careful not to let it come to a boil again; if it boils too long all of the alcohol will be cooked out.
After 10 minutes, immediately remove from the heat. Strain the mixture with a fine mesh sieve; discard the aromatics. Return the mixture to the pot and taste-test. Stir in honey, tasting as you go until you reach your desired sweetness.
Ladle into desired serving glasses. Garnish with sliced fruit, cinnamon sticks, cloves, or star anise pods, if desired. Serve immediately.
Experience the flavors of winter and the holidays while aboard one of many Christmas Market River Cruises.
Recipe Courtesy of Ama Waterways.