How to make…Gluehwein!


There are a few great things about winter. Besides lovely jackets, scarves and boots – you get to snuggle under the covers and watch TV or stay indoors in front of a fireplace. Not only do the cooler winter months greatly reduce the feeling of fomo (because ‘going out’ sounds like a great idea until you realise you have to actually get dressed and leave your warm house), but it also gives you a great reason to make mulled wine, otherwise known as Gluehwein!

This type of spicy / fruity, warm wine is actually a German and Austrian winter-holiday drink (it’s kind of like the European version of eggnog, but with less sugar and more wine!). The tradition is to spend the day on the slopes and return to your log cabin to drink warm Gluehwein. Here in South Africa, we can translate that into spending the day avoiding cool winds in office corridors and then returning home to do exactly the same thing.

Some people wrongly believe that heating the wine reduces the alcohol content. We can assure you this is not the case – the warm wine goes to your head quickly, so don’t be tempted to guzzle it down.

Gluehwein can, however, be served with alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine. It’s usually made with various mulling spices and all you’ll need is a litre of cheap wine (it’s like Sangria – you don’t need to use anything fancy because you’re adding different ingredients anyway), a few oranges and lemons, orange juice, a few whole cloves and a couple of cinnamon sticks.

Here’s how to make Gluehwein:

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup white sugar (this can be increased or reduced to taste. The cheaper the wine, the more sugar you will need)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole oranges
  • 2/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 litre red wine
  • For a little extra kick, add brandy, sweet sherry or port to the mix


  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  2. Cut the oranges and lemon and squeeze the juice into the pan. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel and place the peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  3. Pour in the wine and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Make sure you have a soup spoon to pour the mix into glasses. It’s a good idea to pre-heat the glasses in warm water as icy cold glasses might crack.
  4. Enjoy!

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