Posts Tagged ‘Gluehwein’

Winter without Gluehwein is like…

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Winter without Gluehwein is like… apple pie without ice cream, French fries without catsup, or chips without dip in German-speaking countries. Gluehwein (glow wine) is a hot, spiced wine. It is usually made from red wine and always served piping hot, making it extremely popular on cold winter days and especially during the Christmas season. Roughly 40 million liters of Gluehwein are consumed every year at German Christmas markets alone.

Gluehwein – around the world

Although known by different names, variations of this hot, spiced wine are enjoyed throughout the world. Ingredients may differ, but the enjoyment is universal. Poles relish their “heated wine.” In Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Macedonia “boiled wine” is a favorite. The people in Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia drink “cooked wine” and the Italians delight in “burnt wine.” The Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Fins and Icelanders call it “Gloegg,” and in the Netherlands it is referred to as “bishop’s wine.” The French and Turks simply call it “hot wine,” and the Russian “Glintwein” is based on the same recipe as the German Gluehwein. In Germany, a popular variation of Gluehwein is the Feuerzangenbowle (fire-tongs bowl). It is made from the same recipe, but a rum-soaked sugarloaf is placed on the pot, set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine.

Gluehwein – ingredients

This delicious cold weather drink is usually made from red wine, various spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom, vanilla bean), lemon or orange juice and sugar. After bringing the mixture close to a point, rum or some other liquor may be added. Gluehwein can also be made with white wine; however, this version is less popular than its red counterpart. Occasionally, fruit wines, such as blueberry wine or cherry wine, are also used.

My Gluehwein recipe

Every Gluehwein aficionado has his or her favorite recipe. Here is mine:

Ingredients: 2 cups of water, 2 bottles of good quality red wine, juice of 2 lemons, 5 oz sugar, 6 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 oranges (cut into bite size pieces), orange slices for decoration, 3 oz rum (optional)

Preparation: Place the water and spices in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard the spices. Add the remaining ingredients (except rum), stir and bring close to the boiling point without allowing the mixture to boil. This keeps the alcohol from evaporating. Serve Gluehwein in lightly prewarmed cups. Decorate each cup with an orange slice.

If you don’t want to bother making your own spiced wine, just book a flight and head for one of the many Christmas markets in Germany.

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Christmas Time in Berlin

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

If you want to catch some good old-fashioned holiday spirit, a visit to Berlin during Christmas time might just get the job done. As a result of the reunification in 1990, Berlin has ended up with a double complement of practically everything from theaters to museums, art galleries, opera houses, symphony orchestras, churches, zoos and, of course, Weihnachtsmaerkte – Christmas markets.

Christmas market – Weihnachtsmarkt in Berlin

At last count, approximately 80 Christmas markets in and around the city beckon visitors to experience Christmas time in Berlin. There are traditional and contemporary handcrafted toys to be admired, wood- and glass art, ceramics, baskets, candles and much more. Some of the markets even invite visitors to create their own Christmas tree ornament or advent wreath. For culinary enthusiasts, treats of all kinds are waiting to be sampled. Bratwurst (sausage), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Pilzpfanne (fresh mushrooms fried with onions and bacon), hot chocolate and Gluehwein (mulled wine) are only a few of the holiday specialties offered. Sometimes, concerts, readings and special performances may be enjoyed along the way.

Christmas Lights in Berlin

Then after dark, many parts of the city are transformed into a sea of festive lights. The Charlottenburg castle is illuminated. The energy provider, Vattenfall, lights up the 220 linden trees on Unter den Linden, Berlin’s celebrated boulevard near the Brandenburger Tor. But my favorite is the Kurfuerstendamm. For the past 11 years, the Wall AG, an outdoor advertising firm that is part of the International JDDecaux Group, has dressed up the roughly 570 trees on both sidewalks and the median in their Christmas finery. Between 650 and 950 feet of lights are required to decorate each tree. That makes for roughly 145 miles of lights. Additional light sculptures, representing a nutcracker, reindeer, a train and Christmas trees, adorn the median.

Christmas lights in Berlin - 2014 - Photo: Gundi Seifert

Christmas lights in Berlin – 2014 – Photo: Gundi Seifert

Christmas lights on Berlin's Kurfuerstendamm - 2014 - Photo: Gundi Seifert

Christmas lights on Berlin’s Kurfuerstendamm – 2014 – Photo: Gundi Seifert

If you want to get into the holiday spirit, experience Christmas time in Berlin. Now stay tuned for my favorite Gluehwein recipe. I will share it with you next week and bet that the Gluehwein will put some color into your cheeks and some goodwill into your heart.

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS