Wassail, Glühwein, Glögg, and Mulled Wine


‘Tis the season to drink mulled wine, fa la la la, la la la la!

For thousands of years people have been drinking spiced wine. The Romans never drank straight wine, unless they were out of spices and herbs to add to it. They were actually shocked by the Celts who quaffed straight wine, like frat boys at a keg party.

If you look online there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of recipes for mulled wine. I first encountered it while stationed in Germany. This time of year there are Christmas Markets, Weihnacht Markt, in every city with booths selling wonderful mugs of this stuff. I will say though that one must be careful. Between the heat and the sweetness it is easy to drink too much!

The following recipe is for a wonderful and simple Glühwein from The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking by Mimi Sheraton. While this is made with red wine, you can also make it with white wine, apple cider (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), or beer.


2 bottles red wine

1 cup sugar

1 stick cinnamon

3 or 4 slices lemon, each studded with 3 or 4 cloves


Heat all ingredients together until they [nearly] reach the boiling point, but do not boil. Pour into glasses or mugs and serve.