German word of the day: Der Glühwein

In Germany, there are few things that evoke the winter spirit better than sipping warm Glühwein amid frosty temperatures and dark days.

German word of the day: Der Glühwein
Photo: Depositphotos

Glühwein, or mulled wine, is a traditional hot drink made with red wine and various spices, including citrus, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and vanilla. It can be served both alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

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When served in the latter category in Germany, it’s usually called “Kinderpunsch” or children’s punch. To the contrary it’s sometimes served with extra alcohol, or “mit Schuss”, usually a shot of rum and sometimes other types of hard alcohol.

Traditionally drunk during the Christmas time, and served at Christmas markets. it’s also a popular beverage in Nordic nations, which serve it up under different forms of the name Glogg.

Glühwein being happily consumed at Freiburg's 2018 Christmas market. Photo: DPA

Literally meaning ‘Glow wine’, the word traces its origins in the German-speaking world back hundreds of years, when hot irons were used to heat the wine.

The oldest documented consumption of Glühwein in Germany can be traced back to Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman who was the first grower of Riesling grapes in the 15th century. Archeologists unveiled a special silver plated cup dating from 1420 which he used to sip the sweet and spicy drink.

Yet mulled wine reportedly didn’t become known as a holiday drink until Charles Dickens mentioned it in his popular short story A Christmas Carol in 1843.

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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

Member comments

  1. I always liked the word ‘Klugscheißer’, which I’d translate as ‘smart arse’ (in British English).
    It has a nice ring to it

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German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.