Traditional Gluhwein is red wine simmered with cinnamon sticks, cloves, citrus peel, cardamom pods and sugar. The addition of these warming spices makes gluhwein the perfect drink for chilly winter evenings. There is no such thing as one traditional gluhwein recipe, but the basic ingredients are usually the same. If you’re looking for a traditional gluhwein recipe, here’s one to try:


  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar*
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds

Instructions for a Traditional Gluhwein Recipe:

1. Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. (If you are pressed for time, crank up the heat to medium but make sure to stir frequently and prevent boiling.)

2. If you are cooking low and slow to maximize your experience, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10 minutes.

3. The ideal temperature is 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

4. Strain and serve.

For best results, use a red wine like Dornfelder, Malbec, or Shiraz.

Add a Shot:

And if you want to give your gluhwein a little kick, add a splash of brandy or rum. But, my personal favorite is a shot of butterscotch schnapps. The flavor complements sweet red wine and doesn’t get me hammered and laying on the floor drunk listening to Frank Sinatra in an hour. I buy an extra hour of sobriety.

Enjoy, and be sure to comment any variations of this recipe below. We want to hear about your upgrades. Cheers!

*For a sugar reduced or free recipe here, try Port wine, which is a naturally fortified sweet wine.