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Warm Spiced Gluhwein

A mug of this mulled wine is the perfect taste of winter.

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One of my favorite winter beverages is a warm spiced wine, called gluhwein in my local Bavarian-themed tourist village. I love the whole process of getting bundled up in my winter armor: a warm hat, a couple of layers of warmth like sweaters, a long coat, snow pants, and my toastiest boots. We stand around an outdoor fire pit and sip on this absolutely divine mulled wine. When I can’t escape to our local Bavarian village, high up in the mountains, then I make a batch at home and do the same setup; warm clothes, hat, gloves, and a mug full of this delicious warm spiced gluhwein.

If your winter plans include any kind of outdoor gathering around a fire pit, then a batch of this is a must. A warm spiced wine incorporates the best of the season’s flavors, like cinnamon, ginger, anise, cloves, and the uniquely Christmas flavor of orange citrus. A warm spiced wine like this is pretty easy to make but I do recommend that you choose two ingredients wisely: the wine and the orange juice. I find cold-pressed orange juice to be the most amazing way to drink orange juice. Of course, any orange juice will do, but ideally, choose something of better quality. The same goes for wine. I know we’re fundamentally altering the wine by adding other ingredients but choose a cabernet sauvignon that you’d enjoy on its own.

Another essential ingredient is rum. Some recipes call for brandy and that’s certainly appropriate to use here. I’ve chosen our favorite spiced rum because it echoes those spices that I’ve already added into the pot. I’d say that there’s no ONE way to make a spiced wine, which is why it’s such a fun recipe, for its adaptability. The finished pot of warm spiced gluhwein is the perfect outdoor winter beverage, to be enjoyed while bundled up from the winter’s chill. A mug of spiced wine will warm your hands and your body from the inside out…and it tastes pretty darn good too!

Yield(s): Serves 6-8

10m prep time

1h cook time

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  • 2 bottles dry red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 ½ cups cold-pressed orange juice
  • 3 oranges, sliced ½-inch thick
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved to expose the seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  1. Poke the cloves into the slices of 2 whole oranges and gently set them in the bottom of a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Reserve the third orange for finishing garnish.
  2. To the stockpot, add the orange juice, fresh peeled ginger, bay leaf, whole cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, anise, and the halved vanilla bean. Bring this liquid to a low boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of the Cabernet Sauvignon and continue to simmer until the liquid thickens and becomes syrupy, an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the wine to the stockpot and stir in the spiced rum. Bring to a simmer, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Use a ladle to pour the spiced wine through a strainer and into mugs or warm-temperature glasses, leaving the clove-spiked oranges behind. Garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick and fresh orange slices. Additional garnishes are entirely optional.

Recipe adapted from The Edgy Veg.