Wassail, for the uninitiated, is mulled cider. Glühwein (pronounced gloo-vine) is the German or Dutch name for mulled wine. Mulled wines have been around since the days of the Romans, and there are at least as many names for the traditional holiday beverage as there are countries in the European Union. Among my Swedish relatives, mulled wine is known as glögg, and along with the scent of pine needles, wood smoke, and cinnamon rolls, its one of the smells I most closely associate with Christmas.
Heating up a holiday pot of gluhwein — Photo courtesy of Angela Huster
Mulled wines are generally prepared with a dry red table wine, often fortified by brandy or port, and heated in a pot with water, sugar, and an array of fruits and spices. In my family, cinnamon and vanilla were the preferred spices. Oranges and lemons slices are also an excellent addition, and give you something to stir with your cinnamon stick. There are seemingly as many recipes for mulled wine as there are names.