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Eat, Drink Glühwein, and be Merry!

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December 22, 2014 / German / By
Nicola

'Christmas 2011' by Jana Reifegerste via Flickr

For some reason having a special Christmas tipple seems to be very popular all around the world. Whether it's a spot of Irish liqueur, traditional spiced wine, or something a little harder, everyone has that one special drink that they drink to start getting in the festive spirit - pun fully intended! This is a time to eat, drink and be merry, but what is it about the traditional warm, spiced wine that we've already mentioned that is so popular?

In Britain it's called mulled wine; in Germany it's called Glühwein; in Norway it's called gløgg; in the rest of the world there's a whole range of other names for it. Whatever you call it, you can't deny the popularity of this warm, wintry wine.

Usually made from red wine, mulled wine can be made with a variety of spices, but the most common ones to include are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and even star anise. Sometimes, there's more of a fruity twist, with extra dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins being thrown into the mix. There are varieties of mulled wine that are non-alcoholic, but they're just not quite the same as the real deal!

This is probably one of the only occasions on which warm alcohol can ever be served and called delicious, but it's true! The heat allows all the flavours from the fruit and spices to combine and infuse beautifully, so that it becomes really rich and heady. In some ways, it could be seen as a very Christmassy version of a hot toddy - warm, alcohol filled, and very, very flavoursome!

In England, mulled wine has been popular since about the Victorian era, which, incidentally, was also around the same as roast chestnuts and the exchanging of gifts became commonplace. In other parts of the world, however, this festive drink has been around for much, much longer. In Germany, for example, Glühwein has been around for hundreds of years, which proves that there must be something wonderful about it. Why else would it have remained so popular for so long?

Thanks to the popularity of European Christmas markets at the moment, Glühwein is really seeing a boost in sales. Switch on any Christmas-related television programme, visit any Christmas market, or go to any Christmas party and you'll come across Glühwein sooner or later! Perhaps it's the taste that makes it so fashionable, or perhaps it's the rather magical name - literally translated, 'Glühwein' means 'glow wine'. How beautiful!

At this time of year, you can buy mulled wine or Glühwein at pretty much any market or supermarket, but it's also so easy to make at home. In a similar way to punch, it's the sort of thing that you can experiment with in terms of flavour, to create something truly unique, special and magical for you and your family to enjoy.

Cheers! - or should that be Prost?

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