Christmas time in Germany you can’t miss the fragrant spicy aroma of holiday gluhwein in the air as you stroll through their lively Christkindl markets. Each market has woodsy decorated booths that sell hot mugs of this spiced wine. Holiday revelers stand at tall tables enjoying this traditional drink. Each market has a little different flavor so when you find the one you like be sure to ask how they make it. Some will tell you, while others keep the secret of an old family recipe. Those who give you the ingredients why not play around to make the flavor that suits you best. Here is the recipe I came up with. Take your time, have fun with it then share with your family and friends.
2 bottles dry red wine such as pinot or merlot
1/2 bottle white wine
1/4 cup of rum or brandy (optional) (calvados brandy is delicious)
3/4 cup white sugar
4-5 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla pod (optional)
Pour red wine into large pot and bring to barely a boil then reduce heat to simmer. stir in sugar, spices and cinnamon sticks until sugar is dissolved. Cut one orange in half squeeze juice into pot. Slice the other to simmer with mixture. Add brandy and white wine. Steep for one hour over low heat. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices or cinnamon stick.
Makes 12-15 servings.