Mulled Wine

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Glhwein is popular in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in France. It is the traditional beverage offered and drunk on Weihnachtsmrkten. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. Fruit wines such as blueberry wine and cherry wine are rarely used instead of grape wine in Germany. Glhwein is drunk pure or “mit Schuss”, which means there is rum or liqueur added. The French name is vin chaud (hot wine).

The oldest Glhwein tankard is documented in the high noble German and first Riesling grower of the world, Count John IV. of Katzenelnbogen around 1420. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard imitating the traditional wine woven wooden can is called Welcome.

In Romania it is called vin fiert (“boiled wine”), and can be made using either red or white wine, sometimes adding peppercorn.

In Moldova the izvar is made from red wine with black pepper and honey.

In Italy, mulled wine is typical in the northern part of the country and is called vin brul.

In Latvia it is called karstvns (“hot wine”). When out of wine, it is prepared using grape (or currant) juice and Riga Black Balsam.


Warm mulled pear juice, alcohol-free drink.

Glgg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries (sometimes misspelled as glog or glug); in (Swedish and Icelandic: Glgg, Norwegian and Danish: Glgg, Finnish and Estonian: Glgi). Non-alcoholic glgg can be bought ready-made or prepared with fruit juices instead of wine. The main classic ingredients are (usually) red wine, sugar or syrup, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy. In Sweden, glgg spice extract can be purchased at the chemist. To prepare glgg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into the wine, which is then heated to 60-70 Celsius (140-158 Fahrenheit). The temperature should not be allowed to rise above 78.4 Celsius (173.12 Fahrenheit) in order to avoid evaporation of the alcohol. When preparing home-made glgg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. In Sweden ready-made wine glgg is normally sold ready to heat and serve and not in concentrate or extract form. Glgg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and gingerbread, and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.

All over Scandinavia ‘glgg parties’ are often held during the month before Christmas. In Sweden, ginger bread and lussebullar (also called lussekatter), a type of sweet bun with saffron and raisins, are typically served. It is also traditionally served at Julbord, the Christmas buffet. In Denmark, glgg parties typically include bleskiver sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with strawberry marmalade. In Norway glgg parties with glgg and rice pudding (Norwegian: riskrem) are common. In such cases the word graut-/grtfest is more precise, taking the name from the rice pudding which is served as a course. Typically, the glgg is drunk before eating the rice pudding, which is often served with cold, red cordial (saus).

Glgg recipes vary widely; variations with white wine or sweet wines such as Madeira, or spirits such as brandy are also popular. Glgg can also be made alcohol-free by replacing the wine with fruit or berry juices (often blackcurrant) or by boiling the glgg for a few minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Glgg is very similar in taste to modern Wassail or mulled cider.

British mulled wine

Cover of Mrs Beeton’s book

A traditional recipe can be found in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management at paragraph 1961 on page 929 to 930 of the revised edition dated 1869:


INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.

Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleaned, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose.


Navegado is a kind of mulled wine typically from Chile it is also called Candola in Concepcin. The word navegado comes from the Spanish navegar meaning to navigate or sail. Navegado is heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves and sugar. Almonds and raisins are often added.

See also

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Negus (drink)


^ All about The History of the County of Katzenelnbogen and the First Riesling of the World

^ South of Sweden: Glgg parties exposed


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