Glühwein Recipe for a Cold, Snowy Winter Day

Snow-day Glühwein.
Snow-day Glühwein. Photo credit: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Thinkstock

There’s one reliable cure for the ennui brought on by cold and nor’easters. It was developed in the magical land of Prussia centuries ago. One word, two syllables: Glühwein. (Pronounced glue-vine.)

My husband and I discovered this cure while touring Nuremburg in 1996—their coldest winter in 30 years. Glüwein is traditionally served during the Christmas holidays in small, handled mugs.

Christmas should be celebrated in our hearts every day, right? The warmth bakes the drunk right in.

It all starts with a bottle of bad red wine, in this case a half bottle of very bad red wine. (If ever you want to test just how bad a bottle of wine is, take it to a get together of the Dan’s Papers editorial department. If they don’t drink it, no one will.)

Here’s my recipe for glühwein—Prost!

Wonder if we could run these ingredients through the coffee maker at work…

Stacy’s Snow Day Glühwein

1 bottle bad and/or cheap sweet red wine*
1 orange (juice and peel)
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon verjus or lemon juice
4 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf

*if your bad and/or cheap red wine happens to be dry, double the sugar and omit the verjus

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar or honey. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting. Leave to steep for 1 hour. Pour into cups through wire mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Enjoy.

Why, yes, my friends you can double or duodecuple this recipe.

Why’s it called “glühwein?” It’s “glow-wine,” from the hot irons used for mulling wines in olden times. Don’t try this at home. Glühwein is sometimes consumed “mit Schuss”—with a shot of rum or other liquor. Only try this among friends.

A popular variant of glühwein is Feuerzangenbowle. It includes the same ingredients, plus a rum-soaked sugarloaf that’s set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine. If you try this, don’t call me.

I went to Water Street Wines & Spirits in Sag Harbor for a bottle of “bad red wine.” Owner Marc Cohen took over the business a few years ago, nowadays all the wine is good—so I asked for his cheapest red and we settled on Crane Lake’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Though not a bad wine at all, it made a fine glühwein. And it’s only $13.99 for a magnum. We used half for glühwein and my husband will happily drink the rest as-is.


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