What is Glühwein? Was ist Glühwein?

Not This.

I received some comments on my last post inquiring about Glühwein – what it is, what it tastes like, if I was a fan, etc. Initially, I was dismissive. Psh, what kind of crazy person doesn’t know what Glühwein is?!? But then I realized that just a few months ago, I had never had Glühwein either. As you can see, I’m quick to adopt a high caliber German tradition 😊 Glühwein is truly a staple winter beverage here. It is surprising to me that it has not gained popularity in the states. So I’ll share with you all an overview of what it is, how it’s enjoyed here, and a killer recipe if you’d like to try it for yourself.

Glühwein is a hot alcoholic drink of mulled or spiced wine. There are many varieties depending on the spices and type of wine used, but Glühwein is always served warm. Common flavor notes are cinnamon, clove, and citrus. It is most traditionally made with a dry red wine base, but white Glühwein is also very common in our area. Glühwein is particularly popular at European Christmas Markets, where it is served in fun mugs unique to the town or restaurant. There’s something jolly about sipping on the delicious drink and holding a warm mug in your hands on a cold evening. It really is a great way to warm up when spending extended periods of time outside.

I’ve heard that the word Glühwein translates to “glow-wine” because it is supposed to make you “glow” with inner warmth when you drink it. You can find non-alcoholic versions of Glühwein at Christmas Markets as well. If you aren’t a fan of the mulled wine taste, there are also hot punch specialties, Jager Tee (tread lightly with that one), hot chocolate, and other hot drink options to enjoy in a festive mug.

As a side note, I have observed that it is more common for people to gather outside in chilly weather in Germany. Not only for the Christmas Markets, but most restaurants have tables and blankets set out all winter long. In the states (at least where I’ve lived), people rush to warm up inside buildings all winter. I think this may be a factor of the walk-ability in certain German cities. Even when it’s cold outside, I find that Austin and I build up heat walking between locations, know to dress accordingly for the weather, and enjoy stopping for a warm drink if needed 😊 I’m really not a cold weather lover by nature, but I am learning to embrace this part of life here. I figure it’s better to lean into it than to be fighting to get out of the cold for months on end.

I find that I prefer the flavor of white Glühwein opposed to red… It’s a bit brighter and less spice heavy. Below I will share my favorite recipe. It really hits the mark for the right balance of tart, sweet, and spice. It’s super simple, but some quick tips are to heat gently as to not boil off the alcohol and to use whole spices when possible as to not overpower the drink or make it bitter. The recipe makes a nice volume, but can be easily multiplied to serve a crowd. So, grab your favorite Christmas mug and try the recipe below for a holiday gathering, New Year’s party, or even for a casual cold night (you can save the leftovers in the fridge 😉). I’m confident it will leave you glowing from within – and will also make your house smell like a spicy, citrus, heavenly hug. Happy Holidays!

Weiß Glühwein-Rezept


  • 3 liters white dry wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup of orange juice
  • ½ orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 whole allspice seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed


  1. Stud the orange with cloves
  2. Add wine, sugar, and orange juice to a large pot or slow cooker
  3. Add studded orange, lemon, and spices
  4. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes (a slow cooker can be set on low for 2 hours or so)
  5. Ladle into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick or orange slice if desired


  1. Mama bear graff

    I am going to have to try the white glühwein option. Wish we could have it together. Love you lots!!!

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts. They are so informative!

  3. Great job ! Not only do your friends and family now know what Gluhwein is, we all can try it! So glad you added the recipe. Dad and I were talking about taking Pam and Bob to Findlay Mkt … now we MUST so as to get the spices and serve it up on Christmas in honor of you and Austin. PROST and KISSES. Mom

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