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It was my fifth year living in Germany, but the allure of the Christmas Markets still hadn’t faded (and they STILL haven’t, years later!) There is just something magical about your feet stepping down on the cobblestone street as you are surrounded with glowing lights strung amidst the tiny alleys and the sweet scents of gingerbread and roasted nuts wafting through the air that can’t help to put you in the Christmas spirit.
And no German Christmas Market is complete without a warm beverage in hand to keep you feeling toasty. But that particular year was different for me. Instead of sipping on a traditional Gluhwein, I was 7 months pregnant so was opting for the “Non-Alcoholic Gluhwein,” or Kinderpunsch (Kinder Punch). It was just one of those wonderful German Traditions that I just wasn’t willing to not experience!
^ Pin It For Later^
And whether you are just abstaining from alcohol, or, are in fact, a Kinder (kid), this non alcoholic Christmas punch is, arguably, just as good as a Glühwein itself!
The key to a good Kinderpunsch is two things
- A slow simmer of the spices (just like with Glühwein)
- Quality juices
I have also found out that the “secret” ingredient to the perfect Kinderpunsch recipe is actually Hibiscus tea. Now, this is easily found in Germany, but if that is something harder for you to get, you can omit that, but it really does add an amazing depth of flavor. I’ve found that the Celestrial Wild Berry is easy to buy in the US, which actually has Hibiscus in it, so I highly recommend finding something similar.
- 4 bags of hibiscus tea
- 1.5 cups orange juice
- 1.5 cups apple juice
- 3/4 cup cherry or grape juice (can substitute more orange or apple juice)
- 2 cups water
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- Honey or Sugar to taste
Place ALL the ingredients except for the honey (or sugar) and tea bags into a pot and bring to a high simmer
While the Kinderpunsch is heating, brew the Hibiscus tea bags in 2 cups of boiled water and let steep
After heating up, turn the punch to low and add in the tea and let the entire pot steep on low for at least one hour
Start with 1 TBS of honey or sweetener and add more to taste
This can easily be made in a slow cooker. Just simply add all ingredients and let it cook on low or medium for 2 hours before serving
How To Make Non Alcoholic Mulled Wine
So, as stated before, this recipe is actually a KinderPunsch, so it is more like a Christmas “Non Alcoholic Punch” rather than actually non alcoholic WINE. However, because of the slow simmering of all the juices and spices, it is shocking how close in flavor this comes to actual Gluhwein (without the alcohol).
What is great about this recipe is that it is so dang easy!
Heat all of the juices with the spices and fruit
Pour all of the juices into the pot and bring to a very low simmer.
It isn’t AS essential to not boil this mixture as it is for the actual Gluhwein, but you still don’t really want to boil this, as you simply just want to heat the juices, not reduce them to syrups. Point being: don’t worry if it boils, just try to avoid it.
Add in the cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. It’s easiest to put them in a cheesecloth and pull them out before serving, or you can always just strain them as well.
Brew The Tea
While all the juices are heating up on the stove, brew your Hibiscus (or berry blend) tea according to the directions. You’ll want this to be a strong brew so let it steep for plenty of time
Combine the Tea and Juice and Simmer
After the tea is done steeping, add it to your pot and let everything simmer for at least one hour. This is where the magic happens as all the spices and flavors really meld together to give it the depth that Gluhwein has, as opposed to just another Non Alcoholic punch.
Don’t rush this part.
In fact, I love making this all in the crock pot (using all the same steps as above) and just letting it all simmer for about two hours. Keeping it in the Crockpot not only means that you aren’t releasing a bunch of steam, but also that you don’t risk boiling it and it also is then warm and ready for serving all day long!
After about an hour, you can add in your sweetener. Most people prefer honey (especially honeys that have a more floral taste to them are fantastic) to, again, give it a more complex taste. Or, you can just use sugar as well.
You can sweeten the whole batch or mug by mug depending on tastes. Start small though, as it’s already decently sweet from all the juices. 1 TBS is often enough for a whole batch.
Your final step is to ladle it into a mug and enjoy!!! You can get real fancy and add a garnish like a cinnamon stick or star anise and even an orange peel.