Invite a Touch of European Tradition into Your Holiday Season 3

Glühwein, a spiced or mulled wine, is very popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of Alsace in France. It is a traditional hot beverage served during the Christmas holidays and throughout the cold winter months. The oldest documented Glühwein is dated to the year 1420. Count John IV of Katzenelenbogen, a German nobleman, was the first grower of Riesling grapes.

However, Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, not white wine. On a very funny note, I was once invited to a German holiday party and the host served only white Glühwine made from dry Riesling. I was not shy to ask why she chose white wine over the traditional red wine. She replied, “I have white carpet throughout the house. If someone spills white wine, it’s not a big problem.” She had a good point!

Of course, white wine can be used for spiced wine. The best grape varietal would be a non-oaky wine such as Chenin Blanc, dry Riesling or Viognier. Using this varietal will make a Glühwein have that flavorful depth of the classic red version, but with a lighter body.

Classic Glühwine is prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange, sugar and sometimes with vanilla.

When choosing a red wine, use one that is fruity, dry and not an oaky red. First choice would be a red blend–Merlot, Syrah or a Pinot Noir works well. Keep in mind a red blend is often less expensive than a single varietal wine and is just as good, if not better. It is not necessary to use an expensive bottle of wine, as you will be adding the citrus and spices, which will alter the delicacy of an expensive wine. Glühwine is a perfect marriage with chocolate.

Glühwein – Mulled or Spiced Wine

Makes 4 Mugs


1 ½ bottle red wine (a blend works best)

1/2 cup sugar

10 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

½ orange, sliced

2 ea. star anise


  1. 1. In a pot, heat all ingredients and slightly simmer for about 30 minutes
  2. 2. Set aside and let steep for 10 more minutes; strain through a sieve
  3. 3. Heat up one more time and serve in a mug garnished with an orange slice and cinnamon stick

Chef Lageder’s Cooking Tips and Tricks

  1. 1. Some red wines are more acidic than others. You may have to adjust the sweetness with the sugar to your preference.

Soft Center Chocolate Torte

Makes 6


2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup 72% cacao dark chocolate (Trader Joe’s)

1/3 C salted butter

1 tablespoon flour


1) Whip eggs and sugar to ribbon consistency

2) In same bowl, sift the flour on top of egg mixture and mix carefully

3) In a separate bowl, mix melted butter and melted chocolate; add to mixture and stir carefully until all is combined

4) Pour mix into pre-buttered, sugared ramekins

5) Place ramekins right on the oven rack and bake for 8-10 
minutes in preheated oven (375 degrees)

6) Should be crunchy on the outside but soft in the center

Prep the Ramekins

Brush the ramekins with butter. Dust evenly with sugar, tipping out the excess. Set aside

Chef Lageder’s Cooking Tips and Tricks

a) Ribbon consistency means to whip the egg and sugar until almost white; the batter should fall slowly through a whisk forming a ribbon

b} Delicious served with whipped cream.

c) Placing the chocolate tortes right on the oven rack will help them rise, due to air circulation