This Non-Alcoholic Glühwein can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old alike. A perennial German Christmas market favorite, this warm drink is a great alternative to serve at a holiday party for those who don’t drink or for kids.
Glühwein is a mulled wine that is a fixture at Christmas markets in Germany and in many other European countries. As you stroll through the market, admiring the charming artisanal holiday-themed accessories, the cold breeze wafts the spicy-sweet steam of glühwein as it billows out of a simmering cauldron. It’s sometimes served in a small porcelain boot-shaped mug with the name of the local city written on it. Pay one or two Euros more and you can keep the cool little boot mug as a souvenir.
Traditional Glühwein is made, of course, with wine. Therefore, I started with a base of grape juice and blended in some pomegranate juice for complexity of flavor. The spices vary among the many versions of glühwein but there are a few that are classic, namely cinnamon, clove, and star anise. I also added in a bay leaf for the rounded depth it provides. Orange and lemon are common, so I kept both in my version. Sugar is also typically added but since this one is made with fruit juice, no sugar is needed here, as the juices as plenty sweet.
It still needed the tannic mouthfeel that is present in wine but absent in grape juice. I immediately turned to tea to impart it’s astringent character. You can use black tea, or even green tea. The amount used isn’t enough to actually taste the tea, but it does make a difference in the final taste profile.
- 2 cups grape juice
- 1⅓ cups pomegranate juice
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ½ cup water
- zest of half an orange (use a vegetable peeler to remove strips)
- zest of half a lemon (same process as the orange)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 4g black tea or green tea, steeped in 1 cup hot water
- Pour the grape juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and water into a pot over medium heat. Stir in the citrus zests, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and bay leaf.
- Bring it just to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Allow the glühwein to steep for 1 hour off the heat to bring out the flavors of the spices and zests.
- After 1 hour, brew the 4g of tea in 1 cup hot water. After brewing for 5 minutes, strain and pour the tea into the steeped glühwein.
- Before serving, turn the heat back on the glühwein to get it hot. Strain it into mugs or heat safe glasses and serve hot.
-You can change up the spices if you want. Use nutmeg, mace, cardamom, coriander seeds, black pepper, or fennel seeds.
-If you want to turn this into a traditional glühwein, replace the juices with 1 bottle or 750mL of red wine. Add as much sugar as desired. Add a total of ¾ to 1 cup (about 180mL to 235mL) of water and skip the tea, as it's not needed. Don't let it come to a boil, rather let it heat to just under a boil.