The three of us were recently invited to a holiday party that one of Danielle’s closest friends hosted. This party was the fifth annual of its kind but my first time attending. The party included holiday madlibs, a wine white elephant exchange, lots of drinking, and a pot luck. Danielle made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes and Shae made kale chips (both of which are appropriate for the two of them). I had been racking my brain on what to bring and was considering bringing one of my cranberry recipes but ultimately decided I wanted to do something different. What could I bring that would bring people together and encourage drinking while still maintaining a holiday vibe? I ultimately decided on making some mulled wine.
Mulled wine, or Glühwein, is a big part of Austrian and German Christmas markets. It is a delicious warm spiced wine that is warming and delicious that is perfect for holidays and very very cold weather. Served in a seasonal mug you can keep, it makes a great souvenir of the market as well. I went to Austria when I was 17 to visit my Grandmother who was working in Vienna at the time. Vienna is a beautiful city and Austrian tradition is evident throughout. My grandmother’s apartment was across the street from a Christkindlmarkt and I remember looking around in amazement as we walked through the market—I had never seen a holiday market that felt truly seasonal. In the states, holiday markets are often centered around capitalism and getting holiday shopping done. I found the holiday market in Vienna, although having beautiful homemade wares and goods for purchased, was much more centered around community. Folks were eating chocolates and baked goods and drinking glühwein and hanging out. I have never forgotten this part of my trip and still have some of the mugs that my glühwein was served in at the market.
I figured since Glühwein helps foster community in Austria, why not here in Baltimore too? This recipe is for a big party, serves probably 8-12 people really well but you can divide it in half (or even in fourths) for a smaller gathering.
Glühwein (Austrian Mulled Wine)
3L decent red wine. I used the Malbec from Botabox. You definitely want to use a wine that you like and that is pretty good. It doesn’t have to be the highest quality but something you would drink on your own. I love the Malbec from Botabox when entertaining—it really isn’t your typical (Franzia) boxed wine.
2 1/2 cups water.
1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar, granulated or cane. I used 1 1/2 cups because I like things less sweet but you can adjust this for your audience.
2 large oranges.
4 cinnamon sticks.
4 star anise.
Pour wine into a large pot over medium heat. Add sugar, water, cinnamon, and star anise. Cut oranges and lemons in half and juice into pot. Add lemon halves to pot. Stick cloves into orange halves and add to pot. Reduce head to low after about a minute. Let cook for 30 minutes-2 hours. Serve. We kept ours on the stove for the entire night and served it with a ladle directly from the pot. This kept the flavors going all night.
It definitely helped bring everyone together, which Danielle and I can attest to (we somehow stayed up until 4am that night, talking about gun control and the health care system). Glühwein is perfect for holiday parties with your family & friends. Let us know if you try our glühwein and, of course, tag your photos #30thandweldon on instagram.
If for whatever reason you have leftover glühwein, you can store it a jar refrigerated. I store mine with a few cinnamon sticks and star anise. Heat when ready to drink.