Mulled Wine on a Cold Day

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A few weeks back, I mentioned the seasonal return of eggnog and Glühwein, and while I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my nog all this time, it wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally had a chance to crack open the bottle of Glühwein I picked up from Trader Joe’s.

A quick refresher about the beverage: Glühwein is mulled wine, served warm. I’ve talked about it a number of times on this blog. It’s usually part of my retelling of going to a Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) with friends.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about sharing Glühwein with office-mates, though. I spent three Decembers working in a German office, and it was a semi-regular occurrence during the season that someone would heat up a bottle or two of Glühwein or Glögg on the stove, and then would summon everyone to the office kitchen to share in the drink. (Glögg is also mulled wine like Glühwein, but it’s from Sweden instead of Germany.)

We would linger around the kitchen and enjoy the drink and chat about absolutely anything. Sometimes there were seasonal treats, like Stollen, which I do not like at all. Even the Muslim guy who didn’t drink alcohol would still come to the kitchen and hang out. Technically, drinking at work was against the rules. I don’t feel bad about spilling the tea though, because the company no longer exists and it’s fairly unlikely anyone will get in trouble now.

Connoisseurs of Glühwein will tell you not to heat it in the microwave, since the delicate blend of spices can be easily damaged by that much rapid heat. Instead, you should pour your preferred drink into a pot and heat it gradually over the stove. Stir it often, and don’t let it come to a boil!

Once the drink is heated, pour it into an appropriate vessel to drink it. Coffee mugs are fine, but I chose to use my glass from the 2013 Kuchlbauer Christmas Market in Abensberg. In hindsight, I wish I had thought to keep one souvenir glass from every Christkindlmarkt I attended over the years, but I only ever brought this one home.

Have you had Glühwein this year?

53/52! Goal achieved!

‘Tis the Season

As we put Thanksgiving in our rear-view mirror and hurtle onward toward December, two of my favorite seasonal beverages have returned!

The Family Friendly One: Egg nog! While some people make their own nog, I prefer the store-bought variety. Egg nog started to show up in stores partway into November.

I like Lactaid’s version of this holiday classic best because dairy and I are not friends and Silk Nog just isn’t quite creamy enough.

One of my favorite things about eggnog is that it kind of always tastes like there’s rum in it, even when there isn’t. Speaking of boozy drinks,

The Slightly More Adult One: I was first introduced to Glühwein while I was living in Germany. It’s mulled wine, and it’s served hot. If you ever have the chance to go to a Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas Market, a mug of hot Glühwein while you’re standing around outside with friends in the cold is just a delightful thing. I hate that the markets are almost certainly closed this year. Stupid Covid.

Trader Joe’s carries bottles of Glühwein this time of year, made in Germany and imported to the US for the consumption of those of us who love it. I was excited to see the bottles all stacked up in the store. All you have to do is heat it up and drink it.

I might bundle up and drink it outside on the balcony, just to have a more authentic experience.

Which do you prefer, eggnog or Glühwein?

49/52 (and 28 of 30!)

Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt

I decided a while back that I wanted to see the Nuremberg Christmas Market this year.  The Nuremberg market is one of the most famous, and it’s a big attraction for tourists.   It sees about two million visitors a year.   This is what it looked like at around 5pm on a very rainy Saturday night.

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It was pretty difficult to move up and down the aisles because of the volume of people visiting.  This was more crowded than my visit to Oktoberfest, although that was a weekday rather than a Saturday.

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It’s held in the Hauptmarkt, a large courtyard between a big church and a big pointy fountain in the Nürnberg Altstadt.  This is the fountain:

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There are booths and decorations on all the connecting streets as well.  This little fellow was in front of a store.

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The market has the usual things you find in any Christmas market – hot nuts, Lebkuchen, Bratwurst, handmade goods, and Glühwein.

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Nuremberg also sports the world’s largest flaming punch bowl.  I took some pictures of the flaming punch bowl, but they really didn’t come out very well so they won’t be included here.

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While I was there, a German chorus was singing English Christmas music in front of the Church.

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When I stopped for a closer look, the director (in the red cowboy shaped hat) asked the audience if there were any Americans in the audience.  He seemed disappointed with the lack of response-  apparently the Americans are usually noisier.

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Perhaps it’s because all the Americans were enjoying the Glühwein-  Nuremberg had the white variety seen here.  It’s not quite as sweet as the usual red wine flavors of Glühwein, but it was very delicious.  A hot steaming mug of this was enough to make me forget it was raining the entire time I was at the market.

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What is the most crowded event or festival you have visited?