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TLDR:

Glühwein (pronounced glue – vine), mulled wine, mulled spiced wine, or Glogg are all variations on the same theme – heated wine seasoned with sweet and aromatic spices. These spices include, to name a few, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange, and allspice.

When choosing a wine for Glühwein look for something that is fruity and not too tannic. The best wine for Glühwein is a sweet red wine. I like to avoid full bodied, dry red wines. Here is a list of other good red varietals to try:

  • Black Box Sweet Red
  • Franzia Sunset Blush
  • Dornfelder
  • Malbec
  • Garnacha
  • Lambrusco
  • Zinfandel
  • Shiraz
  • Pinot Noir
  • Port 

But, don’t forget that although Glühwein is usually made with red wine, white wine rosé can also be used. For a non-alcoholic Glühwein, try using apple cider or apple juice as your base. Suggestions for non-red wines include:

  • Semi – Sweet Riesling
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Pinot gris
  • Chenin blanc
  • Dry Spanish rosé 
  • White Zinfandel 
  • Grenache rosé

Best Wine for Glühwein

Glühwein (pronounced glue – vine), mulled wine, mulled spiced wine, or Glogg are all variations on the same theme – heated wine seasoned with sweet and aromatic spices. These spices include, to name a few, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange, and allspice.

There are many recipes for Glühwein, but the traditional Glühwein recipe calls for heating wine with sugar and spices.  Wine is simmered with cinnamon sticks, cloves, citrus peel, cardamom pods and sugar. The addition of these warming spices makes Glühwein the perfect drink for chilly winter evenings.

While Glühwein is typically made with red wine, white wine or rosé can also be used. For a non-alcoholic Glühwein, try using apple cider or apple juice as your base.

Best Wine for Glühwein

While Glühwein is typically made with red wine, white wine or a rosé can also be used. The wine you choose is essential to good Glühwein.  You want a wine that is high in sugar content so it will be sweet, but not too sweet. A wine with good acidity is also important as it will help to balance the sweetness of spices like cinnamon and orange, which you will add to Glühwein.

I tend to stay away from dry, full bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, as they can make the Glühwein too astringent.

It’s a common misconception that you need good wine in order to make Glühwein. That’s not true. Of course, good wine makes everything better, but because we’re so heavily changing the flavor by adding flavor forward spices using a good wine doesn’t make sense. 

Save the good wine for the guests. In my experience, and my research around the world has been extensive, Glühwein is best made with a cheap red wine. 

Use Franzia. Or a similar sweet, boxed red wine. Black Box wine also works great.

No joke. The best wine for Glühwein is a sweet or semi-sweet cheap wine. 

You’re going to season the wine heavily with aromatic and sweet spices that overpower the wine’s original flavor. No need to get fancy and show off your sommelier wine picking skills here.

Red Wine for Glühwein

When choosing a red wine for your Glühwein, look for something that is fruity and not too tannic. The best wine for Glühwein is a sweet red wine. I like to avoid full bodied, dry red wines. If you can’t stomach Franzia or the like, here is a list of other good varietals to try:

  • Dornfelder – Dornfelder is a German red wine that is known for its sweetness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Blaufrankisch – Blaufrankisch is an Austrian red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Zweigelt – Zweigelt is an Austrian red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Garnacha – Garnacha is a Spanish red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Merlot – Merlot is a French red wine that is known for its smoothness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a French red wine that is known for its smoothness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Shiraz – Shiraz is an Australian red wine that is known for its spiciness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Lambrusco – Lambrusco is an Italian red wine that is known for its sweetness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Zinfandel – Zinfandel is an American red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein. 
  • Port – Port is a Portuguese red wine that is known for its sweetness. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein. 

These are some of the best red wines that you can use to make Glühwein. Each wine has its own unique flavor that can add something special to your Glühwein. Choose the wine that you think will taste the best and enjoy!

White Wine for Glühwein

Some of the best white wines for making Glühwein include:

  • Riesling – Riesling is a German white wine that is known for its sweetness. This makes it a great choice for Glühwein, as the sweetness will help to balance out the spices.
  • Pinot Gris – Pinot gris is a French white wine that is similar to Riesling in terms of sweetness.
  • Gewürztraminer – Gewürztraminer is another German white wine that is known for its sweetness. It is also a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Chenin Blanc –  Chenin blanc is a French white wine that is known for its sweetness. It is a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Moscato d’Asti –  Moscato d’Asti is an Italian white wine that is very sweet. It is a good choice for making Glühwein if you want a sweeter version. 
  • Prosecco – Prosecco is an Italian white wine that is not as sweet as the other wines on this list. Prosecco makes a particularly good Glühwein and adds a lovely festive fizz to the drink.

Rosé Wine for Glühwein

Rosé wine is also a good option for Glühwein. If you want to use a Rosé, look for one made with Grenache grapes. Choose a wine that is not too sweet and has good acidity. Some good choices include:

  • Grenache Rosé –  Grenache Rosé is a French red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • White Zinfandel –  White Zinfandel is an American red wine that is known for its fruity flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein.
  • Dry Spanish Rosé –   Dry Spanish Rosé is a Spanish wine that is known for its dry flavor. It can be a good choice for making Glühwein. 

Finally, ff you want to get really creative, you could even try making Glühwein with sparkling wine or Champagne.

German Glühwein

Glühwein is not a complicated drink to make. But, traditional Glühwein is challenging to perfect. Today you don’t have to go to Germany to enjoy the glow of a cup of Glühwein. You can make your own using the curated Sam’s Glow cocktail kit, or track down the supplies on your own. 

The special Sam’s seasoning in Boozn’ Sam’s Glow Kit isn’t for sale anywhere else and took years of diligent research amongst wooden stands and blackened kettles through places like Austria, Germany, Finland and Sweden.