Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (2024)

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I’ve made it no secret about how much I love European Christmas Markets, especially those in Germany and Austria. I have a million reasons why but I’d be lying if I said that the gluhwein wasn’t one of them. Which is funny, because back in 2011, when I first visited European Christmas markets, I didn’t like wine. But gluhwein was different. I loved the spicy sweetness of it. I loved the festive little mugs that it came in. I loved that it was the best go-to for warming up and that nobody judged me for having a mug at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I loved everything about it. And then I made the mistake of coming home back to freezing cold Canada without a gluhwein recipe.

Epic fail.

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (1)

As Christmas came around with my family and friends, I craved gluhwein. When the snow storms hit and I have to shovel my door every hour so I didn’t get trapped inside, I craved gluhwein. And when the temperature dropped to -40C and the news forecasts were raving about extreme cold and frostbite warnings, I really craved gluhwein.

Which is why, when I went back for Christmas markets again in 2015, I made sure that I came home with an authentic gluhwein recipe.

What is Gluhwein?

So, what is gluhwein? Essentially, it’s a hot, spiced, red wine drink that has been made very popular during the winter season in Germany and Austria. At every Christmas market, you can find several gluhwein vendors, each serving their own variation of the drink. Some are sweeter, some are drier, some are spicier. You can also have it made with red wine (most common) as well as white and even rose wine. I usually try them from a couple of different vendors then choose the one I like the most and go back. (The mugs are small, ok? Don’t judge me).

What’s the History Behind Gluhwein?

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (2)

Gluhwein actually dates back hundreds of years and the name itself, Gluhwein, translates to “glow-wine”. Which, when you think of it, makes perfect sense because once you drink it you definitely feel all warm and toasty or ‘glowy’.

While the drink is typically considered to be German, gluhwein or variants of it are popular across several European countries including not just Germany and Austria but also Scandinavian countries, France, and the Netherlands. The base of the drink, mulled wine, is the same but each country has their own mix of spices that they add to it.

Why do I need a Gluhwein Recipe? Can’t I just Buy it?

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (3)

Yes, you can buy gluhwein in Germany and Austria by the bottle. Many of the vendors sell bottles of their own recipe that you can bring home with you. Which is nice, but, there are a few downsides to relying on this method for your gluhwein fix. Firstly, bottles are pretty heavy and you’ll have to check your luggage to get it home. Secondly, even if you do have checked luggage and lots of room, bottles can be quite fragile. The last thing anyone wants is a gluhwein explosion over all your clothes. And, most importantly, it doesn’t last forever. So what do you do when it’s gone? Let’s be honest, buying gluhwein is just prolonging the pain of knowing that you will soon be without it. Which is why you should pay attention to the next section where I share my gluhwen recipe, so you can make some at home too.

The Story Behind my Recipe

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (4)

Before I share my magical gluhwein recipe with you, I figure you should have a bit of a backstory. After all, I’m not German or Austrian, so how do you know it’s the real deal.

Well, in December of 2015 I brought my mom to Europe to experience the Christmas markets with me. We decided to take a break from the outdoors and went for high tea at The Ritz Carleton in Vienna (swanky, I know). It was delicious but the best part was the gluhwein (I guess, technically, we went for high gluhwein rather than high tea). At the end of the tea, we waved the server over, who happened to be a nice looking young man, and I shamelessly begged him for the gluhwein recipe.

I like to think he found me charming with my Canadian accent (eh!), but it’s probably more likely that he just wanted me to leave as soon as possible. Either way, it worked because he went into the kitchen came back a short while later with a lovely, thick piece of cardstock with a hand-written recipe for ‘Traditional Austrian Gluhwein’ compliments of the chef.


It’s been a few years now since I got that gluhwein recipe and it still holds a place of honour on the side of my fridge. I’ve made it more times than I can count and am already waiting for the snow to fall so I can start up again.

Ready to try it yourself?

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (5)


  • 2 bottles of red wine (a dry wine is the norm. Nothing expensive or fancy)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • Peels from 2 oranges


1.Boil the water with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved

2. Reduce the heat until no longer boiling, then add the cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel.

3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the wine. Simmer for a minimum of thirty minutes, or up to a couple of hours. Don’t let it boil- it will boil off the alcohol.

4. Strain and serve.

Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (6)

Serving Your Gluhwein

For the best way to serve this gluhwein, you need proper mugs.

Christmas mugs.

SPECIAL Christmas mugs. After all, I bet that this gluhwein recipe will now be a part of your holiday traditions. It’s a part of mine!

For some cute/fun Christmas mugs, try these snowman mugs or this Santa mug.

Or, if you love National Lampoon, then you totally need these moose mugs.


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Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel (2024)


Authentic Gluhwein Recipe from an Austrian Chef - Eat Sleep Breathe Travel? ›

Glühwein Basics

This warmed wine beverage has been around since at least 1420 in Germany. This is based on the discovery of a Glühwein tankard which is thought to have belonged to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen. He was a German nobleman and was also the first grower of Riesling grapes.

What is the story of Glühwein? ›

Glühwein Basics

This warmed wine beverage has been around since at least 1420 in Germany. This is based on the discovery of a Glühwein tankard which is thought to have belonged to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen. He was a German nobleman and was also the first grower of Riesling grapes.

What is the literal translation of Glühwein? ›

Gluhwein, literally translated as "glow wine", is traditionally served in German speaking countries.

How to make Glühwein from a bottle? ›

Pour the entire bottle of wine into the pot (it's okay to lick the cork), add the cinnamon stick, sugar, cloves and orange peel. Bring the wine to nearly a boil. Note: For Santa's sake, do not boil the wine! Doing so will reduce the alcohol content thus the amount of fun you'll have by equal measure.

What wine is good for Glühwein? ›

Dry red wine: You don't want to use anything too sweet (or expensive)! Chianti, cabernet Sauvignon, or pinot noir, would work all well here. Sugar: You can use granulated and turbinado sugar interchangeably in this recipe.

How much alcohol is in Glühwein? ›

Officially speaking, the drink is defined by the spices used in it, namely cloves and / or cinnamon. The base also needs to be either white or red wine and have an alcohol content of at least 7%.

What is the difference between Glühwein and mulled wine? ›

Mulled wine is hot spiced wine. Gluhwein is a German term for exactly the same. However, they might not necessarily taste the same way because there are so many different recipes, spice mixes and wines to choose from.

What is the other name for Glühwein? ›

This traditional homemade mulled wine recipe is incredibly easy to make and always SO cozy and delicious. Also known as glühwein, vino caliente, glögg, vin brulé, bisschopswijn, vin chaud, candola, vinho quente…or literally a hundred other names, depending on where in the world life may find you.

Is there any alcohol in Glühwein? ›

Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, is an alcoholic drink usually made with red wine, along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins, served hot or warm. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas.

Why is Glühwein called Glühwein? ›

Fun fact, Glühwein roughly translates to “glow-wine”. This is a term derived from the hot irons that was once used to mull the wine! It is most popular in German-speaking countries and in the Alsace region in France.

How long does homemade Glühwein last? ›

Make All of It Ahead of Time

Just follow the directions for your favorite recipe and let the wine simmer with spices until it's deeply infused. Then let the mulled wine cool at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge — it will keep well there for up to three days.

Does alcohol burn off in Glühwein? ›

All ingredients are combined and heated to approximately 150-160 degrees. Be careful not to over heat or boil the mixture. Since alcohol evaporates at 172 degrees which is much lower than water you would be left with a non-alcoholic version of mulled wine and that defeats the purpose.

Is Glühwein good for you? ›

It contains high levels of polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that may assist in lowering inflammation in the body. The red wine base in mulled wine brings its own set of health benefits.

Why is my Glühwein bitter? ›

You need to infuse the wine long enough with the spices to take on their flavour but DON'T ON ANY ACCOUNT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL as you'll be left with a bitter taste.

What is the difference between gløgg and Glühwein? ›

Different versions of mulled wine in different countries

In Scandinavian countries this drink is known as gløgg and it often includes aquavit, cardamom (if you use the black kind it gives a lovely smoky taste) and dried fruit. The German version is glühwein (or 'glowing' wine) and that includes schnapps.

What is the history of mulled beer? ›

Born in the distant past, this beer spread throughout Europe's Celtic populations and was the beverage drunk to celebrate the Yule, or winter solstice, one of the eight sabbats of the pagan tradition, the festivities of which lasted from December 21 to January 1.

What is an interesting fact about mulled wine? ›

It was first popular along the Romans, who would drink hot spiced wine in the winter. As the Roman Empire spread across Europe, so did its partiality for hot red wine. People added different herbs and spices for sweetness, to make bad quality wine taste better, and because they believed in their health benefits.

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