“Let’s make hot love.” Greg had just stumbled into the kitchen where Jan was heating up a bottle of Glühwein (mulled wine) that he’d bought at the grocery store.
“What?!” Jan asked, shocked. “Are you drunk?”
“No, of course not. I just want to make hot love with you.”
“Are you kidding me? What’s gotten into you? I’m in a relationship.”
“But I brought amaretto.” Jan’s eyes bulged. He and Greg had known each other for years, and this was out of character.
Greg pointed at the Gluhwein. “You’ve already got the Glühwien, and I have the amaretto. What’s the problem?”
Hot love. Heiße Liebe. This, Jan had forgotten, is the name of a particular version of Glühwein that involves adding a few shots of amaretto to the mix. A drink that is, apparently, an amusing misunderstanding just waiting to happen.
At every German Christmas market there are rustic-styled booths set up in rows in the center of town selling food and hot drinks, ornaments, and other gift-oriented trinkets. There are twinkle lights and people everywhere, and the air smells like cookies and mulled wine (Glühwein, in German).
The mulled wine comes in Christmas-themed mugs bearing the name of the city’s Christmas market, and comes in dozens of variations. You can get one plain, or with a shot of ten different flavored syrups, or you can add amaretto and have all the Heiße Liebe you’ve ever wanted…
Not being a fan of crowds, it’s the mulled wine that gets me to the Christmas market. But at 2,50 euro a mug (plus a euro or two deposit on the mug) who can afford to drink much of it? The person who makes their own, that’s who.
So if you want to enjoy the taste and smell of the Christmas market without the hassle of waiting in line, get to the grocery store and buy some cheap red wine, sugar, an orange, a lemon, cinnamon sticks, powdered cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Sure you could buy a pre-made bottle for a few euros, and heat it up on the stove at home, but if you make your own you’ll get extra Martha-Stewart points from all your friends. A few days ago I made my first-ever Glühwein batch, and it turns out that making it is extremely easy.
Once you have your ingredients, pour the wine into a big pot and heat it on the stove. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice (some people use the rinds, but it’s probably better not to do this with lemons that have been sprayed with pesticides), and do the same with the orange including any chunks of fruit that don’t fall out of the rind with the juice. The add a few cinnamon sticks, a few pinches of powdered cinnamon, a small pinch of two of cloves, and another few pinches of cardamom, to taste. Bring the wine almost to a boil and then turn down to simmer for ten minutes or so. At this point you can already have a glass, and it will taste better and better the longer you let it sit (until the wine starts to turn, of course) as the spices release more and more of their aroma.
Fill up a thermos and you can take a walk through the market (or pick up some Christmas market-themed mugs at a second hand store or flea market) and fill up on Christmas cheer without having to empty your wallet.