Grzaniec: Polish Mulled Beer with Egg

Grzane Piwo z Jajkiem i Miodem, Grzaniec

Making this fragrant Polish-style Mulled Beer couldn’t be any easier. It only takes a gentle simmer to infuse a mild larger with spices, oranges and a touch of honey. Finishing it off with egg yolks makes it creamy and deliciously rich.

When you’re done, garnish your Grzane Piwo with a few orange half-moons, sprinkle with a touch of ground cinnamon and serve quickly, while it’s still warm!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

Grzaniec or Grzane Piwo (pron.: gzha-neh pivoh) can be easily made in a large batch, making it a perfect drink for festive parties and family get-togethers. 

What’s more, it’s also considered a great remedy for a common cold. Even if that’s not exactly true, there’s no harm in trying.

Good to know: Grzaniec (pron.: Gshzah-nyets) is a Polish term for both ‘Mulled Beer’ AND ‘Mulled Wine‘. Confusing, yes, but they’re equally delicious.

Heating beer may sound weird, but it isn’t a new idea. In fact, beer-based soups (polewki piwne) were a staple of old-Polish cuisine.

Those less affluent would cook weaker beers together with a few pieces of bread. Wealthier homes would concoct a much more luxurious version, enriched by eggs, butter and expensive spices. (source 1)

And while these soups are a thing of the past, Mulled Beer is still enjoyed to this day, in a form of fragrant, warming beverage.

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish-style Mulled Beer?

All of the ingredients should be easily available in any major supermarket. A few things to note:

  • Best Beer for Grzane Piwo: Choose a brew with a relatively neutral taste, a light larger will be ideal. Extra points if it’s a Polish beer :) We need it to act as our blank canvas, “taking in” all the aromas.
  • Spices for Mulled Beer: We’re using whole spices for this recipe, with just a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon to finish it off.

    Do be careful with the ready-made spice mixes, often labelled as Przyprawa do Grzańca (Polish for: ‘Mulling Spices’). Some of them contain a lot of sugar and not much else, so it’s worth checking the ingredients list.
  • Egg yolks: Before you say ‘Eww!‘, I seriously urge you to give it a go. It makes Grzaniec really smooth and creamy.

Equipment-wise, you’ll need a bottle cap opener, sharp knife, cooking pot, strainer and a set of heat-resistant glasses or cups.

How should you serve this ‘Grzane Piwo’?

Mulled Beer is usually enjoyed as a mid-afternoon or an evening drink. 

It’s comforting and warming, therefore it’s mostly reserved for those cold winter months. After all, there’s nothing better than slowly sipped Grzane Piwo, as you browse the Christmas market stalls, or ride a kulig sleigh ride. 

The garnishes are up to you. A few orange slices are more than enough, but you can add a rosemary sprig or a cinnamon stick to make it even more festive.

If you’re using glasses to serve, make sure they’re heat-proof.

Can you make this Spiced Mulled Beer another way?

The recipe for Grzane Piwo is more of a guideline than a restrictive rule. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients, for example by adding:

  • vanilla pod
  • lemons
  • cardamom seeds, lightly crushed
  • star anise, nutmeg
  • a few coriander seeds
  • raspberry syrup
  • all-spice berries
  • shot of rum

What diets is this Mulled Beer suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians. To make it vegan-friendly, replace honey with sugar (or vegan maple syrup) and skip the egg yolks entirely. 

This recipe contains alcohol. Regular beer can be replaced with non-alcoholic beer.

How long can you keep this Mulled Beer in the fridge?

It’s best to make only as much of Grzane Piwo as you intend to drink. I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating any leftovers, it loses its aroma very quickly.

How do I reheat this Mulled Beer?

To reheat Grzane Piwo, pour it back into a small cooking pot and warm it up for a few minutes on low heat. As soon as it reaches the desired temperature, take it off the heat, pour it into a glass and enjoy it straight away.

Grzane Piwo - Polish Mulled Beer ("Grzaniec")

Polish Mulled Beer with Egg, Spices and Honey

Yield: 1 large pint
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 orange, fresh
  • 3-4 thin slices fresh ginger root
  • 1 bottle or can (16 oz, 450-500 ml) beer
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick; optional
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling; optional

Instructions

  1. Wash the orange thoroughly under running water. Scrub it well with a clean soft brush, then cut into quarters. Slice 2-3 thin slices off that quarter and set aside (we’ll use them as a garnish, just before serving).
  1. Peel a tiny piece of ginger root and cut 3-4 thin slices off. Don’t be tempted to use much more, as ginger tends to overpower the taste of everything else.
  2. Pour the beer into a cooking pot, add cloves, a small cinnamon stick and a tablespoon of honey. Squeeze out the juice from the orange quarter directly into the beer. Add the remaining squeezed part of the orange (together with the peel) into the pot as well. 
  3. Pour in the beer, stir and start heating up the mixture on low heat. There’s no rush here, spices need time to release their flavours. It’s supposed to simmer gently, do not bring it to boil. 
  4. After a few minutes (when the beer has heated), grab a small bowl and whisk the egg yolks together with sugar, until thick and fluffy. Add in a few tablespoons of hot beer from the pot and keep on whisking. Return everything back to the cooking pot and stir, until the mixture thickens. Continue cooking for a moment, but without bringing it to boil.
  5. Strain the beer and pour it into heat-resistant glasses or cups.
  6. Garnish with orange slices we have saved, lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve.

Notes

This recipe was inspired by Grzane Piwo (Mulled Beer) recipe from “Palce Lizać” insert to the “Gazeta Wyborcza” newspaper, 6 Dec 2010, page 21, ISSN 2082-5714.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 369mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 8gSugar: 37gProtein: 10g

Sources:

  1. “Polewka piwna” by prof. Jarosław Dumanowski on the website of The Museum of King John III’s Palace at Wilanów. [article in Polish]

Polish name: Grzane Piwo
Pronunciation: gzha-neh pivoh
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Other traditional or regional names:
Also known as (including misspellings): Grzanka, Grzaniec z piwem