One recipe I traveled to the Midwest to find is cherry wine gluhwein. I discovered a perfect compliment in the cherry wines of Door County, WI. Plus, a fruit wine will cut down or eliminate the amount of sugar you need to add, depending on the sweetness of the wine. 

The best Gluhwein recipes live in the heads of those stirring steaming wine in blackened pots at Christmas Markets throughout Europe. That’s why I went to those markets and did the thankless research of stumbling my way through wooden stalls and drinking at Apres Ski parties to bring you the recipes you can’t find anywhere else. 

For me, Wisconsin is home, so finding a way to incorporate wines of that type into a beverage I spent years thanklessly traipsing across Europe to research via diligent consumption sessions next to open fires, singing carolers, and against cold nights seemed like an essential.

What is Cherry Wine?

Cherry wine is a type of wine made with cherries. The process for making fruit wines is similar to that of grape wines, but with a few key differences. First, the fruit is crushed and the juice is extracted (usually through pressing). Then, yeast is added to begin the fermentation process. Once fermentation is underway, the new wine must be aged before it’s bottled and ready to drink. 

Cherry wine can be made with any type of cherry, but is most commonly made with sour cherries. Cherry wine has a long history and was mentioned in the Old Testament. The ancient Greeks also made cherry wine.

Cherry wine is made by crushing cherries and fermenting the juice. The fermentation process can take several weeks or months. After fermentation, the cherry wine is often aged in barrels for a year or more.

Cherry wine has a deep red color and a tart, fruity flavor. It is typically sweeter than other types of wines, but this varies depending on the type of cherry used and the fermentation process. 

Gluhwein Recipe

Just follow a traditional gluhwein recipe, using cherry wine in place of the red wine. You can use any type of cherry wine you like, but we recommend something semi-sweet or sweet for best results. One of the wines mentioned above will work perfect. When selecting a fruit wine, just make sure it is not too sweet. You want the German gluhwein to have a balance of sweetness and acidity. 

For a fruit wine Gluhwein, you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle Cherry wine
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 8 allspice
  • 1 star anise (optional)

Steps to make Gluhwein

1. Put all of the ingredients into a pot over med-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. 

2. You want to ensure your gluhwein is piping hot before serving. 

3. Heat to a simmer. Do not bring to a boil or that will mess with the wine.

4. At that point, turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for about 10 minutes.  This will give time for the ingredients to mix and meld.

5. You can then either strain it or serve it as is. 

6. If you want to keep it warm, put it back on the stove over low heat. 

7. Serve in mugs or glasses with pitted cherries, or something real fun and spicy, like a boozy Amarena or bourbon cherry. *Chef’s kiss.