Garden Faerie: Glühwein warms the gardener
Monica Milla | Contributor
Glühwein is a hot, spiced red wine enjoyed around the holiday season and throughout the winter to warm up. It's especially popular at Christmas markets throughout Germany and Austria, but you don't have to go that far to enjoy a nice warm mug. Just follow my simple recipe instead!
"Glüh" is German for "glow" and the idea is that after being outside (skiing, hiking, building a snowman) for a while, it will make you glow with warmth.
Swedes call the same thing Glögg, and I'm sure there are many other variations.
I'm not a wine drinker, but I do like this recipe. And unlike most of my gardening friends, who are all great cooks as well, I'm a bit of a bachelor in that regard. Especially when you look in my fridge. But don't worry, I can guarantee this recipe is good. I have served it many times and people always enjoy it.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
12 whole cloves
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (I use Trader Joe's merlot)
This recipe can be made entirely in one large pot, or started in a small pot or large pan and then finished in a crockpot. (Knowing my bachelor ways, you'll know I use a crockpot!)
1. In the large pot or pan, combine the water and sugar, and stir thoroughly. Add the cinnamon stick.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer while completing the next step.
3. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering sugar water. Push six cloves into each half of the orange rinds. Place the rinds face down into the pot or pan, so the side with the cloves touches the pan.
4. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the liquid is thick and syrupy.
5. The wine gets added now. If you've made your mixture in a big pot, add the wine into the pot. If you are moving to a crockpot, pour the sugar water mixture into the crockpot, then add the wine, and then place the orange rinds in the crockpot upside down so the cloves touch the bottom of the crockpot.
6. If using the big pot, heat on low until steaming, but not simmering. If using a crockpot, cover it and set it to low and leave it sit a few hours. The longer it's heated, the richer the flavors. Taste now and then for flavor to determine when it's "done."
7. Remove orange peels and serve hot into mugs or cups. If you like, you can strain the Glühwein through a tight sieve to catch any tiny bits or orange that may have come off in the process, but I prefer the texture as is, which is still plenty smooth.
This recipe makes six four-ounce servings. Because I tend to make Glühwein for parties, I tend to double or triple the amounts.
Prost! (That's "Cheers!" in German.)