Spiced Cider/Wine

Homemade Gluhwein


Autumn is here and the temps are falling in Germany (but no snow as yet). As the trees begin to change color, we begin bringing out the warm beverages like spiced cider/wine. Some folks refer to this as mulled wine, but our recipe follows a more traditional German hot wine known as Gluhwein.

There are many ways you can make this spiced wine/cider drink. We began by just simmering the whole concoction over a low heat on the stove, then poured it through a sifting colander into cups. We have also used reusable tea bags until they feel apart 😉

We then graduated to the tea basket for our ingredients, breaking the cinnamon sticks up so that they would fit. Now, we have moved up to the church style brew gadget. It keeps the drink pretty hot! Last Reformation Day party, we were putting ice cubes in the kiddy cups. But oh my goodness, the aroma of Gluhwein is such a delightful autumn smell!!

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You will need:

  • apple juice (depending on the number of people you are serving, and season accordingly)
  • cinnamon sticks (2-7 depending on the batch size)
  • whole cloves (I stick to a tablespoon here)
  • whole all spice (1 tablespoon)
  • 2-4 slices of orange (you can go a whole orange, or 1/4 cup orange juice for a large batch)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon or a cranberry wine (If I don’t have the cranberry wine, I will toss a dash of cranberry juice in)

Dump the apple juice into a stock pot, for the adult version add the amount of wine you wish to serve (not more than 60% should be alcohol), drop in cinnamon, whole cloves and all spice, slices of orange (orange juice or shredded orange peel).  Set stove top to low and allow the brew to steep, but NOT boil.  My kids love the non-adult version.  We get this going first thing in the morning to have as a warm up for cold weather!!!

While here in Germany, we have had to adapt our recipe. Instead of the cranberry wine, we use cranberry juice. We also found non-carbinated apple juice, whole cloves (nelken), and whole allspice (piment).


To make it truly easy on yourself in the states, our lovely family found a great pre-made mulling spice set from Pella, Iowa. This spice set comes with a reusable steeping bag and it’s a GREAT mulling spice combo!!


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