This year, Humberto and I went to a German restaurant to celebrate my birthday (I’m a December baby). We ate all the classics: Schweinshaxe (or Bavarian Ham Hocks), Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), and Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes). Needless to say, it was delicious. We also tried Glühwein for the first time and we loved it. Glühwein is typical Christmas beverage in, you guessed, Germany. It is wine-based, spicy, sweet and warm, heated to just below boiling point before drinking; a perfect combination for a festive cold winter night.
I prepared it for Christmas, using Jamie Oliver’s recipe (I only substituted caster sugar for coconut sugar) and everyone loved it and asked for more. It is a heavy drink, the sugar and warm wine can get to your head pretty fast, so it’s best to drink it when you are not headed out for the night, or when you are out in the chill.
As we celebrate New Year’s Eve today, Glühwein is a perfect addition to our menu, especially for those of us spending the night where the thermometer reads close to the freezing point.
I wish you all a wonderful new year, full of blessings, hard work, success, good health and love.
6 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
2 star anise
2 bottles Chianti or other Italian red wine
Method, from Jamie Oliver’s website
“Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol. When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.”