A Drink Guide to German Christmas Markets

Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Shopping, Dining, Entertainment, General Travel Info

A hot mug of Glühwein
A hot mug of Glühwein

[ source: Wikipedia]

The jolliest part of the Christmas season in Germany is certainly the famous German Christmas markets. The markets are open by early December and take over town squares all over the country. From tiny villages to major cities, the Christmas markets are a central meeting point for enjoying the general merriment of the holiday season. As it’s rather cold in Germany at this time of year, be sure to grab a mug of something warm to drink. Here is a guide to the top drink items at German Christmas markets:


One of the most popular stands at any German Christmas Market is the one (or more) selling Glühwein. These stands often serve a variety of mulled wines and other hot drinks, but the Glühwein is by far the most well known. Order a mug and keep warm while socializing with friends and family at the market.

Originally mulled wine, called Glühwein, was made from red wine combined with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus, and sugar. Now other variations include white and rosè wine, as well as more exotic flavored wines. Another option is to add a "Schuss", which is a shot of rum or liqueur. This gives your warm drink an extra kick, for sure. Many Glühwein stands also offer hot chocolate, punch, and other hot alcohol-free drinks. Expect to pay around 3 Euros for a mug, along with a 3Euro deposit on the mug. The mugs are typically decorated with German Christmas motifs and often display the year and the name of the Christmas market. They are usually available for purchase and make for nice souvenirs.


If you’ve mastered the Glühwein you’re ready to move on to the Feuerzangenbowle. This traditional hot wine drink is prepared in a bowl set over a burner. The bowl is filled with red wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peel, much like Glühwein. However, there is extra fun with the Feuerzangenbowle. The cup it is served in has a small ledge where a lump of sugar is placed. The sugar is then soaked in rum and set on fire. You can blow out the fire at any time, and the sooner you do it the more alcohol the drink retains. Or you can simply wait until the fire has burned off and the sugar has melted, caramelized, and mixed with the wine.

Regional Drinks

Each German Christmas market has a special feeling, and depending on the region of Germany you will come across some extra special treats. One example is the Asbach Rüdesheimer Kaffee. The recipe is a classic, and is made from locally produced brandy, flamed sugar, fresh cream, and strong coffee, hence the name. The drink is served in a beautiful decorative mug and is sure to keep you warm (and caffeinated).

Enjoy the German Christmas markets this year and stay warm with these hot holiday drinks!

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About this Article

Allison Stendardi-Deptolla

This travel guide has been written by Allison Stendardi-Deptolla.

Allison Stendardi-Deptolla is from the U.S. and has spent much of the past two years traveling the world. She currently lives in Munich and loves it. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and works as a freelance writer and editor.

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