Culture Craving Couple contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting Caleb and Taylor! You can see our disclosure policy for more info.

Christmas Market Drinks: A Guide To The Boozy Beverages you Must try

While Caleb and I loved eating our way through 50+ Christmas markets, we have to say that drinking our way through them was WAY BETTER! European Christmas markets have so many festive, boozy beverages, and they were one of the key ways that we kept warm on cold days. We’re not complaining!

In this quick guide, we’ll cover the 11 most common drinks you’ll find at Christmas markets in order from our most favorite drinks, like Feuerzangenbowle and Glogg, to our least-favorite (but still delicious) drinks! Whether your love wine and beer or do you don’t drink alcohol, there’s a drink for you!

Cheers!

1. Feuerzangenbowle

a pink mug of Feuerzangenbowle at a Christmas market with a sugar cube lit on fire overnight

This was our FAVORITE Christmas market drink – even more than our beloved mulled wine! Think of it like mulled wine on boozy steroids! It’s *usually* served as a group drink where a huge pot filled with mulled wine is sat on a fire, and then a metal rod is placed over the top of the pot with a sugar cone on top.

The sugar is then doused in rum and lit on FIRE so the sugary rum drops right into the wine. WE KNOW.

It’s REALLY hard to find it served in individual glasses now, as it usually just comes pre-mixed. We finally found it at the end of our trip in the individual glasses and had waited until then to try it, but we totally regretted it. If you see it, even pre-mixed, GET IT.

But, if you can get your own cup with your own booze-soaked sugar, that is a 10/10 no-brain-yes-decision no matter what time of day. We got ours (served in really cool medieval cups) in Esslingen, Germany, which is one of the most romantic markets in Europe! 

TAYLOR’S TIP:

We pronounced it so wrong and then made some friends with some locals after we all had too much Feurerzangenbowle, so they taught us how to pronounce it. It’s “Fyoor-ah-zang-ah-booh-la.” Now you won’t look stupid like us. You’re welcome.

2. Glogg/Gloggi

Glogg/Gloggi is essentially mulled wine, but it’s the Scandinavian version, and we like it better than the traditional! It has all the usual spices of mulled wine but also has cardamom in it.

Another difference is that raisins and blanched almonds are usually steeped in it, which gives it a really rich, sweet taste. And eating the booze-soaked raisins and almonds at the bottom of the cup is a delicious surprise. 

TAYLOR’S TIP:

DO NOT mistake this for GROG, which is another drink you’ll see at markets. It’s just hot water mixed with rum, and it’s bad. Even a vendor tried to stop us from ordering it. Do not try.

Two hands holding clear mugs of mulled wine with a Christmas market and traditional half-timbered houses in Colmar in the background

3. Gluhwein/Mulled wine

Oh, the traditional german christmas market drink that wafts through the air at ALL European Christmas markets! We LOVE mulled wine. Mulled wine or “Gluhwein” translates to “glow wine” because you will definitely be feeling “glowy” once you guys have a few of these. You might not even need to pack all those layers if you have enough mulled wine!

The traditional version is red wine steeped with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and usually oranges and lightly sweetened. But you can find all kinds of fruity varieties or even white or rosé mulled wine all over the markets. We always prefer the red version, though!

Get Our Best Travel Tips

We’ll show you how to plan an epic vacay, have amazing experiences, eat the best food and save some $$!

There is a legend that mulled wine started as WHITE WINE at the castle Schloss Wackerbarth in Dresden, which is now a winery.  Of course, we had to go drink wine to research for you and see if we could recommend it.  You’re welcome.

While we usually prefer red wine, we have to say that the white mulled wine is AMAZING there, and the grounds are beautiful. Worth a trip if you’re in Dresden!

TAYLOR’S TIP:

When you order your wine, you will likely be asked, “Mit schuss?” Which just means “with a shot.” You can usually add a shot of hard liquor for $1-$3, and you usually have a few options like rum or brandy.

Close-up of a hand holding a glass mug filled with steaming Glühwein at the Esslingen Christmas Market, with festive illustrations and market name on the cup

4. Gluhgin

This is one we didn’t find when we were planning our Christmas market trip and researching drinks, but we were VERY happy to discover once we arrived in Europe!

Gluhgin is like the lighter-flavored but boozier cousin to Gluhwein.  Gin is steeped with apple juice, orange juice, and a whole bunch of spices to give it that same Christmas taste but with more herbal notes from the botanical gin.

To us, it tastes like boozy apple cider with a botanical twist, and we’re HERE FOR IT.

a man at a christmas market holding a glass of mulled beer

5. Gluhbier

Leave it to the Germans to make beer even better. If Gluhwein and Beer had a baby, it would be Gluhbier. 

Beer is simmered with all the usual Christmas spices and then served hot and uncarbonated! If you’re not a wine person, then try Gluhbier.

And, even if you are a wine person, try it anyway because you’re at the Christmas markets and YOLO.

a smiling woman in a pink hat holding a red boot mug at a christmas market

6. Hot Apfel Strudel

We only saw this drink in Vienna (one of the worst Christmas markets, by the way), and it was the saving grace of the whole market.

It’s a mix of super spiced, hot apple cider with white wine, rum, and dried apples floating on the top.

It’s boozy, it’s sweet, and it’s danggggg delicious.

A person holding a glass of hot beverage with a striped straw, with a cozy Christmas market stall blurred in the background.

7. Eierpunsch 

If you like eggnog, this is going to be TOTALLY your jam. Heck, even if you’re like me and don’t *usually* like eggnog, you’ll probably LOVE Eierpunsch!

The base is a traditional German sweet liqueur made of eggs, sugar, and brandy called “eierlikor” which is then added to white wine, sometimes some juice, and MORE sugar, and then they top it all off with MORE RUM.

Ugh, Germans. We love you and you’re love of boozy beverages.

We have to say that we found this to be the richest and sweetest of all Christmas market drinks on the list. Like, it’s REALLY good, but you should probably share one between the two of you, or you might go into a drunken sugar coma.

I don’t know what that looks like, but it doesn’t sound good, does it?

A close-up of a woman in a beige beanie sipping a hot drink from a festive cup, with the Christmas market lights softly blurred in the background.

8. Jagertee

Not the jager bombs from our youth, folks! Jager tea translates to “hunters tea” and is just black tea with rum.

It’s super simple and great when you’re not feeling like all the other exciting drinks on this list.

A man in a purple jacket enjoying a hot beverage at a Christmas market, with twinkling lights and holiday decorations enhancing the festive mood.

9. Lumumba 

If you’re feeling decadent, you can get a Lumuba, which is essentially hot chocolate with booze and then topped with whipped cream if you want it!

Usually, the alcohol is rum, but sometimes they switch it up for brandy. 

Red and white Christmas mugs resting on a snowy table at a Vienna market, with the cheerful hustle of the market and historical buildings in soft focus behind.

10. Heiße Schokolade/Kakao

As you might imagine, this is the traditional and quintessential hot chocolate that you must drink in wintertime.

It’s always super rich and decadent and topped with a PILE of whipped cream because holiday calories don’t count.

If you want to kick it up a bit, you can usually get “mit schuss,” Which, as you now know, means with a shot. We personally like it with Baileys in it because studies have shown that booze makes it taste even. Which may not be a real study. 😏

Two cups of 'Vörösmarty Classic Xmas' mulled wine sit on a table with a festive blurry background, highlighting the holiday market's offerings.

11. Kinderpunsch

The last one is for you if you don’t drink alcohol but still want to participate. Or, if you’ve had TOO much alcohol and just need a little break!

Kinderpunsch, which translates to “children’s punch,” is essentially the booze-free version of mulled wine. It’s mulled apple cider or other flavors of cider, served hot.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

Make sure it says “alkoholfrei” which means “no alcohol.” We’ve had some punsches that seemed to be BOOZIER than normal and you wouldn’t want to make that mistake.

Important Tips For Drinking at Christmas Markets

Two hands holding special edition Christmas mugs with Santa Claus motifs, against the backdrop of Tübingen's picturesque half-timbered houses.

1. Note The Pfand

We have to be honest, drinks at christmas markets aren’t as cheap as we hoped, which was a con when we talked about if the markets are worth visiting. Our visions of having 3 mulled wines by lunch didn’t come to pass when we saw they were $10 in some countries!

But, you might think you are getting even MORE ripped off when you get a drink that says it’s $8 only to be charged $11-$12! Don’t worry, this is not a “tourist special” but something called a “pfand.”

The “pfand” is just a deposit that you pay to drink out of adorable little boot mugs so you guys can get photos for your Insta. Once you are done drinking out of said cute boot mug, simply return the mug to ANY stall (it doesn’t have to be where you got it!) to get the deposit back.

Or, you can keep the mug as a pretty cheap souvenir like we did WAY too often, and I have a family who each got a shoe mug for Christmas to prove it. Pro tip: leave room in your suitcase, okay?

a couple stands in front a christmas tree doing a cheers with two clear glasses filled with a dark drink.

2. Don’t Get Drunk

While we joke around about our love for boozy beverages, that does not mean we’re saying you just get drunk. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

While the Christmas markets are filled with people who want to have a good time, it’s more a “sip a couple of mulled wines and just feel a little buzzy” kind of good time. It’s not a “get drunk and be crazy” kinda vibe. This is especially true if you visit in the morning or afternoon, one of our favorite times to check out the markets.

Please don’t be that tourist that makes us all look bad. Know your limit and drink within it, okay?

You don’t want to become a meme.

3. Look THROUGH The Bars To See If People Are Behind

We learned this on one of our last days when we ordered a drink and I noticed a bunch of people sitting behind the bar.  A lot of times, there are cute back bars with seats where you can hang out and drink, but they are not that noticeable if you just go up and order quickly.

They usually have a really fun atmosphere and a nice way to get out of the cold for a little bit!

There are so many good boozy (and not boozy!) beverages to try at the Christmas markets, so we’re pretty sure you won’t run out of options. Our favorites will always be Feuerzangenbowle, Glogg, and Mulled wine, but we urge you to try all of them because, you know, culture and stuff. 😏

After you figure out what to drink, you have to make sure you know what to eat!  We can fix that with our ultimate guide to the best food at European Christmas Markets!

Or, check out all our best Christmas market tips!

Check out our specific Christmas market guides:

Get Our Best Travel Tips

We’ll show you how to plan an epic vacay, have amazing experiences, eat the best food and save some $$!
A couple embraces while watching the sunset behind the Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park, a moment of romance and tranquility by the reflective waters.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *