Last week, when I reported on the duck and my Christmas baking adventure with the Berlin Baking Buddies, I mentioned that we had a discussion about icing that we were only able to resolve after a mulled wine break. Mulled wine, or rather, Glühwein, the German version, is the topic I want to write about today.
‘Glühwein is a great ingredient for pretty much any Christmas activity’, is what the duck was saying when I snapped this photo. For a lot of Germans drinking Glühwein is an essential part of their annual Christmas market excursion. Whenever you buy a Glühwein (or any other hot drink), you’re asked to pay a deposit for the glass or porcelain cup it comes in. Since the designs of those cups tend to be different each year (and place!), many Christmas market visitors decide to keep one as a souvenir (which technically isn’t legal, but expected). So, a deposit is definitely a good idea.
The glass the duck and I drank our mulled ‘wine’ from was legally acquired, though, from the kitchen cupboard. The wine itself turned out to be a strong opponent:
So many spices!
Well, strictly speaking, the duck and I didn’t drink actual Glühwein. As we mentioned in our Advent calendar list, we don’t like alcohol all that much (some of our friends think that we should star in an autobiographical movie called 18 going on 80. They’re not wrong). We’re in love with tea after all! So, when one of our Berlin Baking Buddies got ready to make some Glühwein, we asked for a kiddie version with grape juice (unfortunately not the cool Japanese variety). Of course we had to continue our tradition of buying ingredients without actual recipes at hand, so for our Glühwein we went with everything that we thought belonged in a German mulled wine (I’m not even sure we got everything). Then we handed the ladle to those Baking Buddies who knew their alcohol. Despite the improvisation the wine looked pretty nice in the pot, as did our juice. It looked even nicer in a cup! Unfortunately, the duck and my old people stomachs didn’t agree with all that grape juice acidity and sweetness mixed with lots of spices. So we watered it down A LOT. Even then we only managed to take one sip at a time, paired with plenty of tea breaks. This is why our discussion about the perfect icing had the duck and me drink plain old tea rather than mulled wine. However, at the end of the day, we had come terribly close to finishing our second cup of children’s Glühwein even though the spices and citrus peel had been soaking in lukewarm grape juice all day, making it even spicier! Well, I guess the duck and I, we’re cool like that!
Nevertheless, if there is one lesson we learned that day, it’s that you should probably have a recipe at hand when you want to cook with lots of spices. Who knew?
What is your favorite Christmas drink?