Swedish Glogg – Gud Jul!
One of my favorite fall/winter hot drinks is Swedish glogg (more properly written glögg and pronounced gluurk – channel your inner Swedish Chef muppet). It’s a mulled wine that is ubiquitous in Sweden at Christmas time. Although I’d heard of mulled wine before, my first introduction to Swedish glogg came via a friendship with a lovely woman I met during parents’ night at the school both our children attended. I was hooked the moment I put a mug of real, homemade Swedish glogg to my lips with a shout of “Gud Jul!”
Swedish glogg uses easy-to-find ingredients, is easy to make, is fun to say (gluuuuuuuuurk!), and makes a hostess gift that will get you invited back over and over again.
Everyone makes homemade vanilla extract to give during the holidays, right? How many bottles of it have you gotten in the past couple of years? Ah, but how many bottles of Swedish glogg have you received? Probably none, right?
Bottle up a couple of gallons of traditional Swedish glogg and you’ll never be giftless. Unless you’re visiting your teetotaler aunt. That’s what the emergency Yankee Candle in your linen closet is for.
What exactly is Swedish glogg?
Glögg is a common, traditional hot alcoholic beverage served primarily at Christmastime in Scandinavian countries.
Like many traditional recipes, glogg has many variations. The common elements generally are:
My recipe includes a bit of ginger. Some versions of Swedish glogg use vodka or Aquavit in addition to or in place of brandy and I’ve seen some Swedish glogg recipes that use slices of oranges instead of just the peel.
You can certainly scale down this recipe and consume it right away, but it’s not more work to make several bottles and it makes a wonderful holiday hostess gift!
On to the recipe for Swedish Glogg:
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 of a 750ml bottle of brandy
3/4-1 cup sugar (start smaller and add more if you want it to be sweeter)
1/2 cup of water
1 bottle of red wine (burgandy, pinot noir, or any full-bodied red)
1 bottle of port
2-3 cinnamon sticks
10 or so whole cloves
1 smallish piece of ginger, peeled
the peel from one orange (scrub well, please!)
1/2 cup of blanched almonds*
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds – don’t leave this out and don’t substitute powder!
* blanched – not smoked or salted or flavored. Blanched almonds don’t have the brown skins on them
1. Soak the raisins in one cup of the brandy for about 30 minutes.
2. Dissolve the sugar in the remaining brandy, along with 1/2 a cup of water. You can do this on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in the slow cooker, set on high. No matter which method you use, avoid letting the mixture boil.
3. Pour all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it simmer on low for about 2 hours.
4. While the glogg is simmering, wash and sterilize the wine and port bottles. You can do this by washing out the bottles and then running them in the dishwasher on the sterilize cycle, or if your dishwasher doesn’t have that cycle use the highest heat and dry setting.
5. Strain out the spices (but save the drunken raisins! Yum!) and pour the glogg into the sterilized bottles. Seal tightly and let them sit on the counter for at least a couple of days, better a week, and even better for a few months! Make some now and enjoy the full flavor at Christmas.
There will be more glogg than will fit into the two bottles. You can either pour the rest into some other (sterilized) bottle you have around or — and this may be a sacrifice you’re willing to make — drink it right away.
Have you ever made Swedish glogg? Does it sound similar to other mulled wine recipes you’ve tried? Let me know in the comments!