From the end of November until Christmas time, the streets of most major cities in Europe are bustling with excitement and buzzing with a cheery atmosphere as people wander and peruse an endless array of food, crafts, and handmade Christmas decorations at the annual Christmas Markets. People shop, socialize, and huddle around outdoor bar tables with good food and a warm drink. The smell of warm spices, roasted nuts, and gingerbread wafts from the quaint wooden stands and Christmas carols can be heard amidst the chatter and laughter of the crowd.. There’s really no better way to get into a festive spirit than munching on freshly roasted chestnuts and cradling a hot mug of mulled wine (known as gluhwein in Germany).
The markets are full of all kinds of people. Business people who need an after work pick me up, young friends laughing and drinking, holiday shoppers, and children coming to sip hot chocolate and go ice skating. The Christmas cheer is everywhere.
Mulled wine is by far the most popular drink here and can be found everywhere during the holiday season. It’s a sweet and warming drink traditionally made with red wine, sugar and mulling spices and served hot. It’s incredibly easy to make on your own and tastes much better than the overly sweet store bought kinds.
All you need is a handful of basic ingredients and one pot.
Start by placing a sliced orange in the bottom of a small saucepan with cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves
Then add a bottle of your favourite red wine and bring the mixture to a boil.
After simmering for 15 minutes pour into mugs and enjoy. It’s that easy
Mulled Wine (Glühwein )
Makes ~4 glasses
- 1 bottle of your favourite red wine
- 1 medium sized orange, cut into thin slices
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 tsp whole cloves (~20-25 cloves)
- Get out a medium sized sauce pan.
- Slice orange into thin slices. Slice the two ends a little bit thicker and squeeze them into the pot (it should give you about 1 tbsp of juice but if its a little more or less it’s ok)
- Place all ingredients into the pot.
- Give it a good stir and then bring it to a boil over medium-high heat stirring once or twice
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. While it’s simmering, use the back of a spoon or fork to press down on the orange slices and release some of the juice.
- Strain or use a ladle to serve and garnish with cinnamon sticks, star anise, and orange slices.