‘Tis the season! One of the most festive and traditional ways to enjoy wine this Christmas is by sipping mulled wine. Traditionally known in England just as such, Mulled Wine, this warm and spicy wine cocktail has origins in Germany and Austria, where it’s known as Gluhwein. Yet another variation comes from Scandanavia, where glögg is the traditional Swedish beverage around the holidays.

The origin of mulled wine isn’t known exactly, but there are references to hot and spiced wine even as far back as Roman times. It’s more than likely that this traditional 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 tradtional Christmas markets (Christkindlmarkt) that pop up throughout France, Germany, Austria and Northern Italy each year. Visitors sip this cocktail as they shop and peruse the various stalls, all in celebration of the Christmas season.

So if you’re looking to get in the spirit with some mulled wine, vin chaudglögg, or gluhwein, here’s a recipe for you to get started, courtesy of the Boston Globe:


Makes about 2 quarts

Kirsch adds fruity complexity; rum or brandy adds a boozy kick.

10 whole cloves

1 cups juice from 4 oranges, plus zest from 2 oranges, removed in strips with vegetable peeler

 cup light brown sugar, or more, to taste

2 cinnamon sticks

2 750-milliliter bottles medium-bodied fruity red wine such as merlot or syrah

1 cup kirsch or rum or brandy (or a mix), optional

Stick the cloves into 2 or 3 strips of the orange zest. In a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the orange juice,  cup water, and brown sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Adjust the heat to medium-low, add the cinnamon sticks and about two-thirds of the orange zest strips (including the clove-studded pieces) and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until fragrant and thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the wine, cover partially, and simmer until the wine is infused, at least 1 hour (do not allow to boil). Add the kirsch, rum, or brandy, if using, stir to mix, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Taste and add sugar if necessary. With a slotted spoon, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange zest.

For the rest of this recipe and others, see the original article at the Boston Globe.

Cheers, and happy holidays!