Spiked Egg Nog, warm (hard) cider, beer, wine, Jack Daniels…seems like drinking goes hand in hand with the holiday season. Drinking is to Christmas as candy is to Halloween. They just go together! And, quite possibly, make everything about it better!
Whether you need a libation or two or five (no judgment zone here) in order to get in to the holiday spirit/take the edge off all the glorious family time, you can always find a beverage to suit your needs.
My family was never really big drinkers during the holidays. Yes, we have our fair share of major dysfunction, but there was never a crazy drunk Uncle or obliterated cousin sitting at our table. During the holidays, I typically enjoy a drink or two, but that pretty much does it for me. The husband (on the other hand) prides himself in eating and drinking all day long during Christmas (and Thanksgiving, but we’ll save his passing out stories for another time). Last year I foiled his plan by getting the stomach flu and believe me, I have heard about it ever since. Last year is better known as “The Christmas Angela ruined.” Yeah. It was real fun for me.
I’m not sure where the husband’s thirst for drinking away the holidays began, but I know that the adult beverages will be flowing on Christmas Eve and Christmas at our house…and that is fine by me. I do like myself some adult beverages.
Recently, I was in Frankfurt where the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) is the thing to see and do. It was spectacular and really got me excited about Christmas. The main square (as well as many others) are covered in booths doling out everything Christmas: gingerbread in all sizes and shapes, ornaments, warm chestnuts, potato pancakes, schnitzel… Among all of the booths of Christmas-wares and food are booths where you can buy glühwein.
Glühwein is a traditional warm German wine that is made with spices and is served at the Weinhnachtsmarkt. So basically, you can stroll through all of the little booths and drink this delicious concoction that warms your heart and soul. I had never tasted glühwein before and let me just tell you…I am hooked. It is so good! I plan on re-creating this drink on Christmas Eve since we will be starting a new tradition of making a German dinner.
Since glühwein is currently making my skirt go up like whoa, I figured I just had to share how to make it. Now, I haven’t actually made this yet, so I’m just hoping that the recipe will actually taste like the drink I had while in Frankfurt.
There are many different recipes on the world wide web and I’ve combined a few that seem like what I actually had while in Germany.
- 4 liters bottle red wine
- 6-8 stick cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves
- Rind of half a lemon
- 3/4 C Sugar (may need more depending on quality of wine used)
- 2 oranges
- One of: (optional- I think they used rum in Germany)
- sweet sherry
Get the Party Started (directions adapted from Dreaming of Winter)
- Pour the red wine into a large pot (or crockpot) on a very low heat – you must not let the wine boil or the world could end… and that is not something you want to risk…(ha ha, had to keep that part in…too funny!)
- Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in wine.
- Add cinnamon sticks in half or thirds and put them in with the wine as well as the lemon rind.
- Add in the optional shot of sherry, port, or rum
- Add in 3/4 cups of sugar and stir.
- Stir on and off for about 30 mins to give the spices time to infuse with the wine and for the magic to occur, then taste it, and add more sugar as needed (possible up to 4 or 5 cups more in the wine is really bad).
- Let it cook/infuse for about 30 mins more (again, not letting it boil. There will be no world ending on Christmas).
- Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.) Make sure you remove the cloves and cinnamon.
- Prost! Drink and be merry!