3 Simple Gluhwein Recipes for Your German Mulled Wine

gluhwein recipe
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Bru-nO

A steaming mug of gluhwein is one of the most delicious ways to get into the holiday spirit. Try one of these simple gluhwein recipes at home. You’ll know exactly the quality of the wine, you can control the amount of sugar that goes into it and tweak the spices to make your German mulled wine taste just the way you like it.

In Germany, wintertime means Christmas markets. From the biggest city to the smallest village, if you go looking, you are certain to find a smattering of little wooden huts selling baked apples, handmade gifts, bratwurst, and the ultimate cold-weather staple, German mulled wine, or gluhwein.

Fun fact: Translated literally, gluhwein means glowing, or smoldering wine.

Sipping a hot drink on a cold day is one of the greatest pleasures of winter. We have three simple gluhwein recipes to get you into the holiday spirit. Whether you prefer the classic red German mulled wine, the less common white wine version, or a non-alcoholic gluhwein, your homemade gluhwein is guaranteed to taste much better than anything you could hope to find in the grocery store.

1. Red Gluhwein Recipe: Classic German Mulled Wine

To make this traditional gluhwein recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.  
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, honey, or agave syrup
  • whole cardamom pods, to taste
  • optional: 1 vanilla bean

Tip: Want to move towards green living? Whenever possible choose organic over conventional ingredients!


For our first gluhwein recipe, slowly (!) heat the red wine in a large pot on medium heat. Make sure that the wine never reaches a boil to prevent the alcohol from evaporating. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to high heat could cause the formation of the possibly carcinogenic Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) molecules. 

As the wine is being heated, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. If you don’t have oranges at home, you could also try using lemons, or combine both. If you enjoy the strong flavor of cardamom, add a few cardamom pods to the mixture. 

Try this gluhwine recipe to make your own German mulled wine at home! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Baguggi)

Remove the pot from the heat and set aside for approximately one hour. Before serving, heat up (don’t boil!) the glühwein again and pour into mugs or glasses through a sieve, so that all the fruit and spices are removed. 

Making traditional German mulled wine is really that simple. Cheers!

2. White Gluhwein Recipe: Mulled White Wine

Looking for a different take on classic German mulled wine? Try this version made with white wine.


  • 1 bottle of white wine of your choice
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 star anise 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, honey, or agave syrup

Try to find organic ingredients. For the vegans among us, remember that not all wine is vegan!


Zest the orange and the lemon peel, being careful not to use any of the bitter pith. 

Pour the white wine into a large pot and place over medium heat. Press the orange and the lemon and add their juice to the white wine. Now add the sugar or sugar substitute and spices and allow to slowly heat. Do not allow it to boil!

Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least one hour. This will help the flavors become deeper and blend together. If you are looking for ways to be even more festive, serve your white gluhwein in clear glass mugs with apple slices. 

gluhwein recipe white
White German mulled wine looks lovely when served with apple slices. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay)

3. Alcohol-Free Gluhwein Recipe

This punch is an alcohol-free alternative to traditional German mulled wine that children and adults alike can enjoy.


  • 1 liter apple or grape juice, unsweetened
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 lemon slices
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • honey or sugar  


Heat up the juice with all the ingredients except the sugar or honey. Allow to steep for at least an hour, and then taste to test for sweetness. Apple juice is often sweet enough on its own, so you might not need to add sugar or honey at all. Add sweetener to taste – or if you think the punch is too sweet, try adding fruit tea to thin it out. 

Read on: 

This text was translated from German into English by Christie Sacco. You can view the original here: Glühwein selber machen mit 3 einfachen Rezepten

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