Although I have never read Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway, I got the idea for this weeks recipe, Mülled Wine (Glühwein), while reading another one of his novels, A Farewell to Arms. In this book (actually, in all of his books that I have read so far) the characters are always drinking wine. It seems odd to think that there was a point in time when people drank wine at the café for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Different place, different time I suppose.
While reading Hemingways’ books, I personally find them to have no real point at all. However, they have a romantic feel to them that is quite enjoyable. That’s not to say that there is absolutely no point to the books, I just don’t feel as if I gained anything of value from them. They are just simply a good story.
This weeks recipe comes from a drink described in Hemingway’s book, A Farewell to Arms, he says, “…We sat inside warmed by the stove and drank hot red wine with spices and lemon in it. They called it gluhwein and it was a good thing to warm you and to celebrate with.” I immediately was intrigued so I wrote down the name on a sticky note and went back to reading. A couple weeks later, I found the note tucked away in my recipe development notebook.
Jake loves red wine and we usually have a bottle or two around each week. Glüwein or Mülled Wine is a warmed wine beverage that is most commonly served during colder seasons. It is made with a full bodied red wine as well as citrus, mulling spices, and a bit of sugar. The kind of citrus and spices you use can really be whatever you like. I found that its easiest to use plain old navel oranges because they are very accessible all year round. I chose a blend of warm spices including cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and cardamom pods that create a lovely depth of flavor. I also added raw cane sugar to sweeten and half of a vanilla bean because I just love vanilla.
This recipe is also extremely easy and quick to make; even better! All you do is toast the whole spices in the pot, add the remaining ingredients, and cook over medium-low heat until the wine is heated through, not boiling. You then turn the heat off and let the wine steep for 10 minutes. This step allows the flavors of the aromatics to release into the wine and create even more depth of flavor. After the steeping process, I run the wine through a fine mesh sieve to get out all of spices and zest and return the wine to the pot and heat again just until warm. It is very important not to let the wine boil (or get too hot) because we don’t want the alcohol to cook out of our Mülled Wine, this is, however, an alcoholic beverage everyone! All in all, this recipe takes only 20 minutes to make! It is perfect to whip up right before your dinner party or holiday guests arrive.
And you guys, This Mülled Wine is so good. I like wine but I don’t like drinking very much so I keep it to a minimum but I just kept wanting to drink more of this wine. The Mülled Wine was perfectly sweetened and the combination of citrus and spices reminded me perfectly of the holiday season. I will be making this recipe very often throughout the coming cold months.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe for Mülled Wine (Glühwein) and thank you so much for visiting A Common Kitchen this week. Go follow me on Pinterest and Instagram (@acommonkitchen) if you want to see more lovely photos and interact with me, I would love to hear from you!
DISCLAIMER: This recipe does contain alcohol. It should not be consumed by children or anyone under the legal drinking age (21 in the United States), pregnant women, or anyone else with conditions that prohibit them from consuming alcohol.
Makes about four glasses
One (750 mL) Bottle of Red Wine (I used Beaujolais)
1 Large Orange
½ Cup Raw Cane Sugar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Star Anise
5 Cardamom Pods
5 Whole Cloves
1 Piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and cut into quarter-sized rounds
1 Vanilla Bean Pod, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out
For Garnish (Optional): Orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise
In a large pot, add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, and cloves. Toast over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices start to give off a slightly toasted aroma and then turn off the heat. Using a “Y” peeler, peel the zest into large strips off the entire orange and place in the pot. Cut the orange in half and squeeze out the juice into the pot.
In the pot with the spices and orange, add the wine, ginger, and vanilla bean pod and the seeds. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until the wine is heated through but not boiling and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove the wine from the heat and cover with a lid and let steep for 10 minutes.
Pour the wine through a fine mesh sieve to catch all of the aromatics. Pour the wine back into the pot and heat over medium-low until the wine is just heated through— do not let it boil! Once heated, carefully pour the mülled wine into a carafe or pitcher. Pour the wine into glasses and garnish with orange slices, star anise, or cinnamon sticks… or all three! Enjoy.