It’s Christmas time in Germany. That means Christmas markets, German Christmas baking, Reibekuchen and Glühwein. What is Glühwein? German mulled wine, literally ‘glowing’ wine. And this is our Glühwein with tea.
Why the Glühwein with tea?
Because it is Tea with Mum style, of course!
On a more serious note, Glühwein can be quite strong, particularly if you are not used to it. Adding tea makes the Glühwein milder, but the tea does not overpower the flavours of the spices.
Vanilla is also an unusual addition to Glühwein. I really like it in Glühwein – somehow it delivers a smoother taste and an aroma that is more comforting.
Germans and their rules: Vintners are not allowed to add tea or juice or anything to their Glühwein. According to the Wine Ordinance (§ 38 (1a)), Glühwein may only be called Vintner Glühwein if the Vintner produced it on their own premises, with their own grapes and only added aromas and spices and natural sugars.
Germans even have Glühwein for children – called Kinderpunsch or Kinderglühwein (Kids’ punch or kids’ Glühwein). Of course, it does not contain any alcohol. However, it definitely contains tea. So isn’t it natural to put some tea in the adult version too?
Tips for making the perfect Glühwein
Glühwein sweetness is a matter of personal preference. Some purists prefer almost no sugar, others like their Glühwein to be almost syrupy. I like mine a little milder – around the 125 g amount. I find that with the vanilla, it does not need to be too much sugar. Start with a small amount then add bit-by-bit after taste testing to make sure you obtain the level you want.
If you like cardamon, add a cardamon pod (opened) to the mix for an
If you prefer your Glühwein stronger (in alcohol), add a shot or two of rum or amaretto to the pot or a shot to the mug. Taste the Glühwein with tea and adjust your sugar as necessary.
Do NOT boil the Glühwein. Glühwein is supposed to ‘glow’ and steam, but not boil. Bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat.
Make some Glühwein with tea this Christmas!
If you live in colder climes and are not able to visit one of the fantastic German Christmas markets, make some Glühwein with tea this Christmas. It is particularly good if you are having people over – it is easy to double or triple the recipe (if your saucepan allows), as you literally add the ingredients and walk away and wait for it to ‘glow’. With the lovely comforting aroma, Glühwein really is the ultimate Christmas drink.
Glühwein (German mulled wine) with tea
- 750 mL red wine
- 500 mL of boiling water
- 2-3 black tea bags
- 100 – 200 grams of raw cane sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 vanilla pod split lengthways
- Boil the water and make tea with the tea bags.
- Peel off a large piece of rind from each and add to the tea. Juice the orange and the lemon and add the juice to the tea.
- Add the remaining ingredients and warm the mixture over low heat. Make sure you run the spoon over the bottom of the pan so that the sugar does not stick and burn. As a general rule: the slower the mixture warms, the better – the spices will work their magic and add flavour to the wine best at a lower temperature. Do not boil!
- Serve steaming, in mugs.