One of the biggest draws of a German Christmas market, especially for us Puritanical Americans, is drinking Glühwein outside. No, it is nowhere near as gross as the word may make it sound. Besides being delicious, it may end up being the best way to keep your hands warm while you’re hanging out with friends in the frigid air. It’s hot mulled wine, though if that’s not your thing, you’ll also find hot chocolate (with or without alcohol shots), Met (honey wine), Feuerzangenbowle (wine, rum, things being lit on fire, chanting…). I do love the German Glühwien, though I had a chance to try some Finnish Glöggi this past weekend, and I liked it even more. It involves both wine juice and fruit, and is served with raisins and almonds.
At a Weihnachtsmarkt, you will have to pay a Pfand (deposit) for your drink, which you get back once you return the mug. It’s usually between 2€ and 4€, depending on the market. However, you might realize that you want to keep your mug as a souvenir. Some are cuter than others, and they can make nice little momentos of your trip.
We had big plans to keep the Bielefeld mugs that we got here last week, until we got home and realized that they are from last year. I’d rather have my 5 euros back, please.