Lutendrank was the first historic spiced wine I tasted. The name means lute drink – or as my boyfriend calls it “gitar wine”. It is sweet and spiced and totally yummy. The batch I made last week started tasting kind of like good mead and now tastes very spiced but still totally delicious.

A glass of lutendrank and spices
Lutendrank December 2016

In Scandinavia and parts of Germany we drink hot spiced wine for Christmas – Glöck. This is the left over from the old practice of sweetening and spicing the wine. Some of the the renaissance and medieval spiced wines tastes kind of like Glöck. Lutendrank is not among them – though it is full of Christmas spices, it doesn’t taste like Christmas in a cup. We have had it before at larps and it was a big hit. So much so that the boys complained that I hadn’t made more.

The recipes I uses is this one. The source here is a original German cookbook  by Anna Wecker from 1598 (from the Danish edition).

Lutendranck at berede.1

Disse effterskreffne Species skulle stødis groffve oc formengis.
Rec. Cardemomme 5. Lod.
Ingefer 3. Quintin.
Canel 4. Lod.
Muskater 3. Quintin.
Paradiskorn 1. Lod

Naar mand vil giøre to Støbicken eller otte Potter vijn til Lutendranck / da skal først sættis en Messing Pande paa Ilden/ met to Pund sucker/ oc aff fornæffnde Vijn to Potter der paa slaget. Lad samme Vijn met Suckeret bekomme en opsød. Naar Vijnen oc Suckeret nu siuder / dog giff 8. Lod af fornefnde støtte Species der vdi / strax tagendis det fra Ilden / igiennem en Lutendrancks Pose slaget/ der paa giff de andre 6. Potter Vijn kolde / oc lad en gang 3. eller 4. lecke igiennem samme Pose / indtil den bliffuer klar/ saa er hand beridt. Giffuer du en Skefuld sød Melck eller de huide aff et Eg der vdi / saa bliffver den strax klar
(Anna Weckerin: En artig oc meget nyttelig Kogebog, København 1648).

My additions is only to leave the wine in a closed glass container overnight before straining it. It is still very good after a week, but I ma not sure how long it will keep. Until it smells vinegary I guess.


Lutendranck is another spiced sweated wine. Unlike some of the other medieval spiced wines, this isn't overly sweet. If made with white wine it becomes a refreshing summer drink.

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 5m
  • Total Time: 25h 15m


  • 1 bottle of wine, red or white
  • 90 grams sugar

Spice mix

  • 7 grams cardamom seeds
  • 1 gram dried ginger or thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 6 grams cinnamon bark
  • 1 gram nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 grams grains of paradis (may be substituted for more cardamom)


  1. If at all possible use whole spices and ground them roughly in a morter. Otherwise they are a pain to get out of the wine again - seriously so annoying.
  2. Mix about one fifth of the wine with the sugar and spices in a pot.
  3. Bring it all to a boil.
  4. Take it off the stove and let it sit for five minutes.
  5. Pour it though a sive to strain the spices off.
  6. Pour in the rest of the wine and strain it all though a damp cloth. A few times to get rid of the bits of spices.
  7. I personally leave it till the next day with the spices in - because I like it spicier. But the recipe does not say to do so
  8. Serve it hot or cold. Though cold would be seen as more sophisticated.

Edit May 2017

Lutendranck in my period appropriate glassware

I have fiddled with the recipe a bit and experimented with different wines and the amount of sugar needed. Below is my recipe for lutendranck, made with a young sweet German white wine. I like it better when the wine has sit overnight with the spices and is filtered the day after. I would suggest using this second recipe if you are going to try it your self. Depending on the sweetness of your wine you will need more or less sugar though.

Lutendranck 2

Lutendranck is a sweetened and spiced white wine that was typically enjoyed cold. It is a light and refreshing thing to drink on a hot summer day.

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 5m
  • Total Time: 24h


  • 1 bottle of white wine, sweet German wine works best.
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 8 grams cardamom
  • 1 gram ginger
  • 6 grams cinnamon
  • 1 gram nutmeg
  • 1 gram grains of paradise


  1. Use whole spices - this will give you the least cloudy finished result. If you use whole cardamom just brake open the pods but leave the grains whole. If you are using ground spices, put them in a fine tea filter or they will be almost impossible to separate from the wine.
  2. Mix about one fifth of the wine with the sugar and spices in a pot. Heat the wine (do not boil it) until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Mix the wine and the sweeten wine and place it in a big jar overnight.
  4. Stain the wine though a sive and a cloth and pour it into a flask.
  5. The wine will get better if you let it rest for a week or so. But you can drink it right away.
  6. Serve it hot or cold. Though cold would be seen as more sophisticated.
  7. The wine is good for at least the first month, but the taste will continue to change so after a month we sometimes have very good results and sometimes not. So I would try to drink it within a few weeks.


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