Grzane piwo, Polish mulled beer

Mulled beer grzane piwo is a popular Polish wintertime drink. It is flavoured with honey, lemon and spices. A beer-based alternative to hot toddy or mulled wine, grzane piwo is an excellent drink to serve during the holidays.

Polish mulled beer grzane piwo is an excellent wintertime drink. Flavoured with honey and spices, and served with a lemon slice decorated with whole cloves, this may become your next favourite holiday drink.

Polish mulled beer

Winters can be pretty cold in Poland, and a spiced hot alcoholic drink is definitely a good alternative to an ice-cold beer. Many people associate winter with mulled wine, but have you ever had mulled beer? Just like mulled wine, beer is simmered with spices and citrus and served hot. Poland also has its mulled wine, but being a large producer of beer it also boasts its own beer version, grzane piwo.

Grzane piwo literally translates as hot beer. As we said, grzane piwo also includes some other flavourings that have been cooked with the beer. So the more correct translation is actually mulled beer. You could also find this hot drink going by another name, grzaniec. This is a more generic term that defines a mulled alcoholic drink at large. For example, grzaniec may refer also to the Polish Gluhwein (mulled wine). A popular one is grzaniec galicyjski, the mulled wine served at Polish Christmas markets.

Here’s the recipe to vin brulé, Italian mulled wine.

Christmas market stalls in front of the Saint Mary Basilica in Krakow's main square.
Grzaniec Galicyjski served in a barrel-shaped kiosk at the Krakow Christmas market, 2016.

How to make grzane piwo

Beer has a rather low alcoholic content. Lager beer is the beer most commonly used to make grzane piwo. Averaging at 5% alcohol, lager beer is not the strongest type of beer. Simmering the beer to extract the flavour of the spices makes the alcohol evaporate, and when the alcohol is not present in high percentages from the start, it almost evaporates completely.

In order to keep the final product still alcoholic it is important to warm but not boil your mulled beer. So only a small part of the beer is used at the beginning to simmer the spices in. You add the rest at the end and remove it from the heat before it reaches boiling temperature.

Grzane piwo, Polish mulled beer

The ingredients

  • 400 ml lager beer
  • 60 ml water
  • 6 tbsp (1/3 cup) honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 2 lemon slices

If you can find Polish beer, that would be great. Otherwise any local lager will do the job just fine. Agave syrup can substitute honey, but I would not recommend using bottled lemon juice instead of the lemon slices. If you don’t have access to lemons, I’d omit that altogether. Whole spices are recommended, but if you can’t find them 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon subs 1 stick, and 1/8 tsp ground cloves subs the whole cloves.

Grzane piwo with its ingredients in the background with fairy lights.

How to make mulled beer

  • In a saucepan combine the water and 60 ml (1/4 cup) of beer. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves and honey and bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the honey.
  • Lower the heat and let simmer to extract the flavour of the spices, about 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on it as the beer may froth as it boils.
  • When about half of the mixture has reduced, lower the heat and pour the rest of the beer into the saucepan. Add the lemon slices. Keep on low heat until it has warmed and remove from the heat before it boils.
  • Strain the spices and serve immediately.

Closeup showing clove decorated lemon slice floating on top of hot beer drink.

The lemon slice and cloves can be used to decorate your drink like in these pictures. Press cloves onto the flesh of the lemon slice and place lemon slice to float in the glass.

A Polish classic: szarlotka cocktail with bison grass vodka.

Polish mulled beer served in a see-through mug.

What is your go-to holday drink? I love hot spiced drinks as they remind me of Christmas and I live in a cold place so there’s something comforting about serving hot drinks in the winter. But I feel like I need to explore the world of spiced cocktails a bit more so this upcoming holiday season I’m gonna try something new: coquito (recipe by Sense & Edibility). What ethnic drinks are you serving at your holiday table? Maybe my grzane piwo?

Grzane piwo, Polish mulled beer

A hot beer-based drink flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, honey and lemon.
Course Drinks
Cuisine Polish
Keyword hot beer, mulled beer, polish christmas drink
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 291kcal
Author Eva | Electric Blue Food

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Stirrer
  • Mesh sieve
  • Serving mugs

Ingredients

  • 400 ml lager beer
  • 60 ml water
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 15 cloves
  • 2 lemon slices

Instructions

  • In a saucepan combine the water and 60 ml (1/4 cup) of beer. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves and honey and bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the honey.
  • Lower the heat and let simmer to extract the flavour of the spices, about 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on it as the beer may froth as it boils.
  • When about half of the mixture has reduced, lower the heat and pour the rest of the beer into the saucepan. Add the lemon slices. Keep on low heat until it has warmed and remove from the heat before it boils.
  • Strain the spices and serve immediately. You can press the cloves into the lemon slice and put it back to float in the drink.
Nutrition Facts
Grzane piwo, Polish mulled beer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 291 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 17mg1%
Potassium 112mg3%
Carbohydrates 63g21%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 52g58%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 35mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe originally published in December 2017. Updated October 2020 with a recipe card and better wording. Last updated December 2020.

 

Grzane piwo, Polish mulled beer

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2 Comments

  1. Jana December 17, 2020 at 13:16

    Is it not other way around ? “In a saucepan combine the water and 60 ml (1/4 cup) of beer” > “In a saucepan combine the beer and 60 ml (1/4 cup) of water” ?? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Eva December 17, 2020 at 22:04

      Hi Jana! No, this is actually correct, as at the beginning you want to extract the flavour of the spices, but not burn off all of the alcohol in the beer. So you’re just using one part of the beer for this first part, then you proceed to add the rest and just warm until just before it boils.

      Reply

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