dying spies

‘Tis a sad time when the few remaining pommes from that peck of Northern spies you bought at the farmers’ market now rot in your fruit bowl.  The daily apple to keep the doctor away never materialized, and a few great desserts used up most of ‘em.  But there is one last mission to which a spy apple might apply itself: glühwein, the magnificent spiced wine our German friends offer every Christmas,  at Christkindlmarkt, if you’re so blessed to have one near you.  Even our beloved Chicago market has gone virtual this year, so we’re on our own to capture the charms of the experience.  While we can’t recapture the charms of the markets, we have one weapon in our disposal:  access to a well stocked spice rack and to a proper German red wine (usually a vanishingly small segment of your wine store’s stocks) and you too can dribble out that wonderful concoction.  Works best in a crock pot, but a pot on a low stove would work.  You’ll need a big navel orange you can zest and then section, and a lemon, plus that apple, but all else is smallball.

Here’s the recipe we’ve devised.  This is a serious glühwein recipe.  Look up all others and you will see gaps.

kathy and bob’s glühwein

2 X 750 mL bottles German red wine      ginger root, 1”X1”, sliced thin

¼ C honey                                             juniper berries, ½ t       

1 orange: zest & sections (1/3ds)           nutmeg, ½ t     

1 lemon: zest & juice                             vanilla bean, 1, chopped ¾” pieces

1 spy apple, cored, sectioned (1/3ds)

allspice, 9 berries                                  place spices in cloth mesh bag (e.g

star anise, 4 pods                                      cheesecloth)

bay leaf, 1                                             place spice bag, fruits, wine & honey

cardamon pods, 2 T                                   into crock pot

dried red chilis, 4                                  cook on high X 60’, then reduce to

cinnamon sticks, 8                                      low

whole cloves, 12                                   ladle into appropriate cups, including

coriander, ½ t                                              fruit.  serve warm

fenegreek ½ t      

fennel seeds, 1 t

find an appropriate German red wine to make it with

Here’s a list of possibilities:


Pinot Noir









We’ve discovered a Michigan wine that works very well:  Left Foot Charley’s Blaufränkisch.  We like supporting Michigan business as we sip away.  We have one remaining spy, so another crock pot of glühwein seems in the offing.  Hate to let those apples go to waste.

It’s in a different culture, but one close to ours (we’re both at least 25% Norwegian) sköl!

We have our recipe into a nice little 3X5 card

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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