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Warm the soul this Christmas with traditional spiced wine

German gluhwein

When the weather turns cold and the inevitable grey skies loom, nothing warms the soul better than a spiced hot drink – and this is where the Germans do it best.   My first experience with glühwein, a traditional German beverage, was at last year’s Vancouver Christmas Market whose spicy and fruity aroma intrigued me immediately.  I was instantly taken by the mulled wine, which is served hot and a staple to Christmas markets all over Eastern Europe. 

This year, I was inspired to make my own.  Because of their sweetness and abundance this time of year, I opted to include clementines into the recipe as my citrus element but oranges work just as well.



1 bottle of dry red wine (such as a cabernet sauvignon)

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon all spice

1 cinnamon stick

6 whole cloves

3 clementines, juiced

2 clementine peels

thinly sliced oranges


Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat, careful not to boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove spices and serve in hot mugs.

Quick Tips:

- Use a slow cooker set on low and leave the wine to mull for 1-2 hours

- 1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice, which contains many warm spices such as cloves, star anise and cinnamon, is a quick alternative solution to use as mulling spice

- Replace wine with apple cider or grape juice for a non-alcoholic version

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