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German Gluhwein Recipe and Perfect Mulled Wine Spices Blend

spiced mulled wine gluhwein recipe

‘Tis the season... Gluhwein season! One of the most festive ways to enjoy wine during the holiday season is warm, German Gluhwein – also referred to as mulled wine. You’ll smell the aromatic mulled wine spices at every Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) across Germany, Austria, and other European cities during the month of December. It's the perfect beverage for keeping warm on a cold winter's night.

History of mulled wine

The origin of mulled wine isn’t known exactly, but there are references to hot and spiced wine as far back as Roman times. It’s more than likely that this tradition traveled with them as they conquered the rest of Europe. Today, Gluhwein and Vin Chaud (as it is known in France) is a staple at the traditional Christmas markets that pop up throughout Europe each year. Visitors sip this cocktail as they shop and peruse the various stalls, all in celebration of the Christmas season.

Key mulled wine ingredients

This holiday classic is typically made with red wine, citrus fruits, sugar, and various mulled wine spices like cloves, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and anise. When it comes to choosing the right bottle, pick something that is young, bright, and fruity. A California red blend, Argentinian Malbec, Shiraz, and West Coast Pinot Noir make great choices.

Now it’s time for the recipe! When it comes to making Gluhwein, slow and low is the way to go. Let the mulled wine sit on the stovetop on low heat for at least 1 hour before your guests arrive and keep it warm on the lowest setting until it’s gone. It’s important that the mixture doesn’t come to a boil.

German Gluhwein Recipe


  • 4 oranges, juiced; 2 oranges, zested

  • ¼ cup cane sugar or other sweetener of your choice

  • 10 whole cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 5-6 cardamom pods (optional)

  • 4-5 whole star anise (optional)

  • 2 750mL bottles of red wine

  • Rum or brandy (optional)


  1. Remove zest from 2 of the oranges in wide strips using a vegetable peeler. Avoid peeling off the white pith. Set aside and then juice all 4 oranges into a large pot.

  2. Add the sugar to the pot and bring to a simmer, stirring until all of the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. Simmer for 1 minute.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the wine. Cover and let it warm for 1 hour. Watch to make sure it doesn’t simmer or boil.

  5. Serve warm in mugs with an optional shot of rum or brandy.

Share your Gluhwein creation with us on social (@Coravin).