Autumn Leaves Glühwein

“The falling leaves

Drift by the window

The autumn leaves

Of red and gold”

When I listen to Nat King Cole sing those lines, it makes me think of one thing: glühwein!

Glühwein roughly translates to glowing wine - and I can understand why. It warms you up inside and I’d say it makes you feel as if you are glowing. You’ll find that it’s very popular at European Christmas markets and at the ski resorts.

Legend has it that the Romans invented glühwein to save any extra wine they had that was going off by adding honey and spices to make it taste better. As they travelled across Europe, they spread the wine across countries. It was thought to be very healthy due to the addition of spices - I’m not going to argue with that.

The process of making glühwein fills the entire house with spicy comforting aromas, making you want to curl up by the fireplace and read a book, whilst sipping your warm glowing wine. Here is the recipe we use.


  • 1 bottle of red wine (or more)

  • the rind of 1 orange (peel off with a vegetable peeler)

  • the rind of 1 lemon

  • 1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed preferably)

  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (sometimes they’re small, and maybe you love extra spices)

  • 1 whole star anise (don’t worry if you don’t like the taste of it alone, you hardly taste it in here)

  • 2 cardamom pods

  • 4 cloves (not my favorite, so sometimes I throw in less)

  • 1/2 cup sugar to start off with (you might want to add more depending on your preference, but no more than an extra 1/4 cup)

Put all the ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a slow simmer.

Once the wine starts simmering, place the lid on and slowly simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes - sitting (and tasting) occasionally. This is where you would add some of the extra sugar if you’d like.

To serve, you can strain the glühwein and remove the rinds and spices and make sure it is served hot! I usually don’t strain the glühwein if I’ve made it with freshly squeezed orange juice, because I enjoy the pulp. For the aesthetics, you can add a cinnamon stick and some orange slices to the mug.

Et voilà - the perfect hot drink to warm you up - with some “health benefits”. Enjoy!

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