How did you toast in the New Year? Did you have a traditional flute of champagne? Or maybe you wanted something warm to ward off the winter chill like a Hot Buttered Rum, Irish Coffee, or some Mulled Wine.
Those who hail from the northern regions sport very few hours of daylight in the winter. The chill and the gloom lead one to look for a way to lift spirits. However, the first mention of spiced and heated wine drinks came from the Greeks. They masked the flavor of bad and even spoiled wine with spices. The Romans added this to their cold season drinking in 20AD. They in turn, conquered Europe where the Europeans continued the winter-warm drink. In the 12th century, a drink called “spicy wine” first emerged in France and Spain. The drink moved north and became a popular drink in England in the 13th century and was a favorite drink of King Henry III.
The drink prevailed especially in northern regions where people endured colder winters. Germany and the Nordic countries added their own touches to the mulled wine to make their Gluhwein and Grog respectively. The oldest Gluhwein is attributed to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman responsible for the first Riesling grapes in the region.
“German Recipe: Glühwein or spiced wine”. Early drinkers also found that drinking mulled wine was safer in the 16th century than to consume water during the Black Death years. Mulled Wine History – Winter’s Most Iconic Drink – FOODICLES
The German Gluhwein translates to glow-wine German Glühwein | Kitchn or smoldering wine German Recipe: Glühwein or spiced wine – StuttgartCitizen.com , depending on the interpreter. One suggests that it is glow-wine because of the feeling you get after a few tankards of the drink. The second translation derives from the drink being heated to a smoldering temperature before you drink it. Either way, it is a popular drink around the Christmas holidays and can be found at Christmas markets across Germany.
Germans generally keep their recipe pretty basic with cardamom, vanilla, ginger or other spices. The Nordic countries sometimes add blanched almond or raisins to their grog. Some Christmas markets reheat pre-sweetened mixes to enhance the taste. If you want to try to make your own, do not let the wine boil or it boils off the alcohol. Gently heat for about 20 minutes before serving. Inexpensive Chianti or Cabernet will work fine. No need to spend extra money on wine you will be doctoring anyway.
In modern times, the drink is often made with hot water with added lemon juice, lime juice, cinnamon, or sugar to add flavor. It is also common in the United States to make it with apple cider or rum with water. In Australia and New Zealand, the word grog has come to mean any alcoholic drink, not only hot ones. Grog – Wikipedia Cheers!