One of the many fabulous things about Christmas in Europe, is all the spectacular Christmas Markets. They are unlike anything you could ever experience in The States, like out of an overly staged Christmas movie, but real.
Trier Christmas Market 2012
They have delectable food, warm spiced wine, and handmade goods. They smell of roasted chestnuts, candy, Nutella crepes and deliciously grilled meats. The flavor that is most incredible and is my personal favorite, is Glühwein, in France, Vin Chaud and in the Nordic countries, Glögg. This hot, mulled wine is most welcomed on a snowy winter's day. Mulled wine dates back to before Christ, when people added spices and herbs to help with the flavor of wine and to add health benefits. I love the sound of wine being healthy for you, ha! Each country has its own version of it and I like to blend all of them to make a version of my own.
I know these strange words can get a little confusing so I made a picture chart to visually explain the difference
Since I make a blend of Glühwein/ Vin Chaud/ Glögg frequently, I thought I would convert my coffee bar into a place for guests to add extra spices, sweetness and fruit to jazz their wine up according to their tastes. This is not a traditional recipe but are some suggestions and recommendations of things to put in yours at home. Play around with it and make it your own!
You will want to heat up a bottle of inexpensive (expensive is not needed since you will be adding so many flavors) red or white wine. I like to use a half dry or semi sweet wine. Like sangria, both red and white taste different yet wonderful. It is also fantastic made with champagne or prosecco! You will want to heat it in a crock pot, simmer it on low, or place it in a metal bowl within a pot of heated water, so you don't burn off the alcohol. If you aren't a drinker... heat away! I like to make it lightly sweetened and spiced then let guests add more sweetness and spices according to their taste preferences. When I make it for myself, I throw in a ton of the goodies listed below.
- A cinnamon stick or two
- A few cloves (4-6 is a good amount)
- Slices of oranges (peeled)
-A cup or two of pineapple orange juice (not needed but extra yummy)
- A Bay Leaf
-A few tablespoons of sugar (sweeten to taste)
- About 6 Cardamom pods
- 1-2 Star of Anise (this is common in French Vin Chaud)
- Raisins and or figs (common in Nordic Glögg) Oh umlauts... I love you.
-Almonds (also common in Glögg)
-The zest of a lemon or orange
-A shot of liqueur
You will strain it out through a cheesecloth or drink as is if you are in a hurry to chug-a-lug this epic holiday elixir!
It is absolutely DELISH when topped off with Amaretto!
While the name Glühwein or Glögg is a bit frumpy, the flavor is nothing short of angelic.
I serve my mulled wine with a cinnamon stir stick and garnish it with a slice of orange.
Try your own blend and let me know how it goes!!! I would love to hear what combination you use!
To get more holiday ideas, click on the seasonal box in the right hand column of my blog or click here!
Alrighty, I am off to get my gluhwein on!