The A to Z of German Christmas: G is for… Glühwein

A terracotta mug of steaming mulled wine
Glühwein at the Mainzer Weichnachtsdorf

Glühwein – mulled wine – is a hot alcoholic drink made from wine heated with sugar and a mix of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and/or star anise as well as citrus peel and/or juice.

At large Christmas markets in Germany, Glühwein is often made using regulated premade wine and spice mixes, meaning the drink is at every stand is from the same producer – and it’s usually very sweet. If you’re put off by how sugary it is, you might like to seek out Winzerglühweinmulled wine made by winemakers using their own wines and mulled according to their own recipes. At Christmas markets in Germany’s various wine regions, you’ll often find vineyards with their own stand.

Mulled fruit wines such as blueberry wine (Blaubeerwein) or cherry wine (Kirschwein) are also worth trying; in the north of Germany, you’ll also find Glögg, a Scandinavian variation. A non-alcoholic version of Glühwein called Kinderpunsch (kid’s punch) is widely available; an extra alcoholic version comes in the form of a Feuerzangenbowle.

G is also for…

Gänsebraten: Roast goose is a classic Christmas dinner for many Germans around the country. Served with potato dumplings, braised red cabbage and gravy, it’s a festive dish enjoyed throughout Advent – and even before, since it’s a dish also traditionally enjoyed on the Feast of St Martin (11 November). If you’re visiting Wiesbaden or Mainz, check out my favourite places to eat roast goose.



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