Monday, December 5, 2011

Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Fall semester of my junior year of college was spent studying abroad in Europe. Our home base was Rome, but we were often given long weekends of four or five days to go off and explore other regions of western Europe.

One such weekend, my friends and I chose at the last minute to travel to Germany. As I recall, we were about to embark on Finals week. The debate raged as to whether it was responsible of us to traipse off to Germany since we should have been in the thick of it, heads planted in our notes, studying. But in an effort to follow Henry Rutgers' advice -- 'Don't let your studies get in the way of your education.' -- we took what for many, if not all of us, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore Heidelberg, Germany.

I've never regretted it.

(We did spend some time studying -- and I received my highest GPA that semester.)

Landing in Germany the very beginning of December, we arrived just in time for the opening of the Christmas market. This was certainly the highlight of our visit. The cobblestone square of Heidelberg was transformed into an illuminated series of medieval-style market stalls all containing within exquisite, handmade Christmas decorations for sale or warm treats to ward off both the chill and hunger.

One such offering was glühwein or 'glow wine,' as it is aptly named due to the way it makes your cheeks glow after consuming a generous libation. After vigorously skating one chilly evening the outdoor rink beneath the majestically lit castle on the hillside, I grabbed a mug of this warm drink to reheat and relax.

I had not experienced it since that night, until Stephen offered to make it one evening. It was the perfect accompaniment to a meat pasty during our outdoor picnic, before meandering a Cornish Christmas festival.

 He generously agreed to share his recipe. :)


one 750 ml bottle of any red wine
one orange
1/3 - 3/4 c. sugar (to your taste)
10 whole cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg
1 - 2 cinnamon sticks

Place saucepan over medium heat. (Do not allow it to boil at any point; steaming is okay. Boiling evaporates the alcohol.) Pour quarter of the bottle of wine into the pan. 
Cut orange in half. Squeeze juice into wine on stove, retaining the rind. With a sharp knife, cut five small 'X's into outer rind of each orange half. Place whole cloves into each 'X.' Place oranges with cloves, face down into the wine so that cloves are fully immersed in the liquid.
Add all remaining spices and sugar, mixing until dissolved.
Next, add remaining wine and allow it to cook approximately 10 - 15 minutes, until warm. Again, keep an eye on it and do not let it boil.

Use ladle to pour into mugs. It looks pretty in glass, but don't use one without a handle!
Serves 4.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Hey, those are cute girls with the Gluhwein...wonder if they'd like to meet my sons!! = )