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Mulled wine is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and raisins. It is served hot or warm and may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween.
Wine was first recorded as spiced and heated in 1st century Rome. The Romans travelled all across Europe, conquering much of it and trading with the rest. The legions brought wine and viticulture with them up to the Rhine and Danube rivers and to the Scottish border bringing their recipes with them.
British mulled wine
Mulled wine is popular in England at Christmas and throughout winter. One Victorian recipe was Smoking Bishop. Mulled cider and sometimes ale is also served, with a mulled apple juice as a non alcoholic alternative.
German and Austrian Glühwein
Glühwein (roughly, "glow-wine," from the hot irons once used for mulling) is popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional beverage that is offered during the Christmas holidays. The oldest documented Glühwein tankard is attributed to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman who was the first grower of Riesling grapes. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard is dated to c. 1420.
Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. It is sometimes drunk mit Schuss (with a shot), which means that rum or some other liquor has been added. Fruit wines, such as blueberry wine and cherry wine, are occasionally used instead of grape wine in some parts of Germany. There is also a variation of Glühwein which is made with white wine. However, white Glühwein is less popular than its red counterpart.
Another popular variant of Glühwein in Germany is the Feuerzangenbowle. It shares the same recipe, but for this drink a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine.
Glögg, gløgg, and similar words are the terms used for mulled wine in the Nordic countries (sometimes misspelled as glog or glug). It is spelled gløgg in Norwegian and Danish, glögg in Swedish and Icelandic, glögi in Estonian and in Finnish.
Non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions of glögg can be bought ready-made or prepared with fruit juices instead of wine. The main classic ingredients (of alcoholic glögg) are red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit, or brandy. Throughout Scandinavia, glögg spice extract and ready-mixed spices can be purchased in grocery stores. To prepare glögg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into the wine, which is then heated to 60-70°C. When preparing homemade glögg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. Ready-made wine glögg (and low- or non-alcoholic varieties) is normally sold at Systembolaget in Sweden, and in Alko in Finland, ready to heat and serve, and not in concentrate or extract form. Glögg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and Ginger biscuits (Ginger Snaps), and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.
In Sweden, ginger bread and lussebullar (also called lussekatter), a type of sweet bun with saffron and raisins, are typically served. It is also traditionally served at Julbord, the Christmas buffet. In Denmark, gløgg pairings typically include aebleskiver sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied with strawberry marmalade. In Norway, gløgg is paired with rice pudding (Norwegian: riskrem). In such cases, the word graut-/grøtfest is more precise, taking the name from the rice pudding which is served as a course. Typically, gløgg is drunk before eating the rice pudding, which is often served with cold, red cordial (saus).
Glögg recipes vary widely; variations with white wine or sweet wine such as Port or Madeira, or spirits such as brandy or whisky are also popular. Glögg can also be made without alcohol by replacing the wine with fruit or berry juices (often blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg to evaporate the alcohol. Readymade non-alcoholic glögg is also available. Glögg is similar in taste to modern Wassail or mulled cider.
In France, vin chaud ("hot wine") typically consists of cheap red wine mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon. It must not be too sweet.
In Bulgaria, it is called greyano vino (Bulgarian: греяно вино) ("heated wine"), and consists of red wine, honey and peppercorn. Sometimes apples and/or citrus fruits, such as lemon or oranges, can be added.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia, kuhano vino/kuvano vino/кувано вино ("cooked wine"), is made from red wine and various combinations of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and orange zest, often served with slices of orange or lemon.
In the south and southeast of Brazil, where a large amount of European descendants live, it is called quentão or vinho quente ("hot wine"). It is typically made with red wine, cachaça, cinnamon sticks and cloves. It is served as part of the Festa Junina, celebrated during winter in the month of June.
In the Czech Republic, mulled wine is called svařené víno ("boiled wine"), colloquially svařák.
In Italy, mulled wine is typical in the northern part of the country and is called vin brulé ("burnt wine").
In Macedonia, it is called vareno vino (Macedonian: варено вино, boiled wine) or greeno vino (Macedonian: греено вино, heated wine) and is usually served in late autumn or winter. It is made of red wine, usually from the Tikvesh region, combined with cinnamon and sugar or honey. The wine heated in a combination with pepper is used as a prevention from flu or cold.
In Poland, grzane wino ("heated wine") is very similar to the Czech variant, especially in the southern regions. There is also a similar method for preparing mulled beer or "grzane piwo" which is popular with Belgian beers because of the sweet flavor of that particular type of beer, which uses the same spices as mulled wine and is heated.
In Turkey, it is called Sıcak Şarap ("hot wine") and can be made using sweet red wine, adding sugar and fruits such as lemon and orange. (The classical sweet wine for this use used to be the now discontinued "Hoşbağ" brand of the former Turkish state monopoly "TEKEL".)
- Cloake, Felicity (9 December 2010). "How to make perfect mulled wine". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- John, J. A Christmas Compendium. Continuum. p. 80. ISBN 0-8264-8749-1.
- J. Robinson (ed.)The Oxford Companion to WineThird Edition. Oxford University Press, 2006. 589–590
- "Mulled Wine". Wine Bottle Sizes. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- "Glögg Alkoholfri: Mulled red wine, non-alcoholic". IKEA. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
- NPR Staff. "Get into the Holiday Spirit with Scandinavian Glogg". All Things Considered. NPR. 22 December 2011.
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