Glühwein: Germany’s Holiday Beverage

While walking through Baden Baden’s Christmas Market during freezing weather, I craved a tasty drink that would keep me warm while I shared a warm waffle drizzled in nutella with my friend, Jackie. In the United States, people often connect hot chocolate, hot tea or coffee as the beverage to drink during cold weather. Although Germany offered these hot drinks, many Germans and tourists drank glühwein (pronounced ɡluːvʌɪn) or mulled wine as they wandered the rows of booths displayed at the Christmas Market.

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Translated as “glowing wine,” Glühwein is made from red wine that is heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and orange juice with zest and sugar. You can also drink the mulled wine “mit Schuss” (with a shot) of rum or some other liquor. 

Glühwein’s taste reminded me of a warm, cabernet sauvignon, but with a slightly sweeter finish. The glühwein I drank with a shot of rum gave the beverage an extra kick. My favorite mulled wine that I tasted during my stay in Germany is heidelberr-Glühwein (blueberry mulled wine). I truly savored every sip of this drink, since I absolutely love the sweet taste of blueberries.

Vendors at the Christmas Market served glühwein in specialized mugs made specifically for the event. When you purchased the glühwein, you paid approximately €2.50 in addition to the price of the glühwein for the mug. This practice enables Christmas Market visitors the opportunity to take the mug home, or to receive their money back after returning the mug to the vendor. Although I did not take the physical souvenir home, I will never forget the taste of glühwein.