Glühwein ("glow wine") is a traditional mulled wine of Germany, commonly associated with the Christmas season and festive markets where it's made in large pots. There are lots of different recipes, and it will vary from familiy to family. In general, you take cheap red wine and add citrus, cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, and sugar. Heat it up but don't boil it, and serve in mugs. A cheesecloth pouch can be helpful in keeping the whole spices from getting loose. Sometimes individual people will add more sugar, or a shot of liquor, or some other enhancement to individualize their cup. I've had it with both lemon and orange, and I think that fresh oranges work better with the other flavors involved.
The final product is something that smells entirely like Christmas, even if you didn't grow up with this particular tradition. Keep a pine bough and a candy cane nearby and you can send yourself back to Christmas any time of the year.
Christkindles Markt Glühwein
7€/1 litre bottle, 10% abv.
The spices and citrus prevent you from smelling the wine, but on this I got the aforementioned cinnamon and cloves as wel as some nutmeg and allspice. The sugar cuts back on the tartness of the wine and citrus, but it's not too sweet on its own. I tasted it three ways: room temperature, with ice, and hot. Hot is the traditional method, and while it would be incredible in the winter, during a Memphis July it's a bit much. Over ice it's a very refreshing beverage, sort of like a Christmas themed sangria. At room temperature it's certainly tasty, but not as exciting.
While Glühwein is more of a dessert or after dinner beverage, Paul and I decided to try it with food. I made something I thought would be a good match: thick pork chops brined and then stuffed with Stilton, walnuts, and blackberries. The end result was a delicious, savory chop that was juicy throughout and packed with flavor. How did it go with the wine? Not a bad pairing. Unusual, but somehow it all worked together.
As with other treasures from Germany I've tasted, thanks to Dave Rickert for passing this along.