The Challenges

Christmas in a cup

Liz:In many German towns you know that Christmas is on its way when the scent of spices, roasted almonds and baked waffles floats through the streets. People visit the Christmas markets and enjoy the lights and decoration, food, sweets, seasonal knick-knacks and especially the mulled wine. It’s called „Glühwein“ here. I enjoy making it myself, because I love smelling cardamom, anise, cinnamon, oranges and red wine in my house and don’t really like the commercial mulled wine which you can buy ready-made. Just make sure you don’t use the cheapest bottle you can find – a wine you would drink with dinner is the kind of wine to mull.MulledWine-LisaNieschlag-1517

This year I had friends over for the second Advent weekend. My house was filled with the voices of eight kids and ten adults all chatting along and exchanging news and stories from the past months. The fire was crackling and candles lit the house. And although it was noisy and merry most of the time, all of the sudden it went very quiet as the kids gathered around a friend who read some Christmas stories. What a special moment! And what a beautiful gathering it was to celebrate the festive season. I’m very much looking forward to the time between Christmas and the new year — there’ll be time to wind down, recharge the batteries and spend quality time with the family. And until then, enjoy a cup of mulled wine. Cheers!

Mulled Christmas Wine

3 sticks of cinnamon
3 anise stars
6 cardamom pods
a handful of almonds
100 g sugar
1 bottle of red wine
1 orange (organic), unpeeled and sliced

Combine the cinnamon, star anise, almonds, cardamom and sugar in a pot. Pour in just enough wine so that everything is covered. Heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the wine, orange slices and heat it up. The wine should not boil. When hot, pour into mugs and enjoy.