People in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood know the nordic mulled wine called glögg in Swedish and gløgg in Norwegian and Danish. It is served at Simon’s Tavern each winter, and bottles are sold in local stores. I, however, was quite familiar with this drink well before I moved to the neighborhood because my mother made it for her Christmas parties when I was growing up, and I have carried on the tradition for my Christmas parties.
No matter how you spell it or pronounce it (We’ve always said it like “gloog.”) gløgg is a wonderful way to warm your hands and belly on cold winter nights. There are many versions, but here is the recipe that I got from my mom.
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 25 whole cloves
- 4 whole all spice (not pictured)
- 10 whole cardamom seeds, slightly crushed
- 10 dried apricots (not pictured)
- 750 ml Bordeaux, burgundy or merlot wine
- 750 ml ruby port
- 16 oz cubed sugar (or granulated is fine if you are not going to use fire)
- 750 ml brandy
Tie the cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice and cardamom seeds in cheesecloth or place them in a mulling ball. Put the spice mixture, the red wine, the port and the apricots in a pot and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the initial mixture from the heat. Remove the spice bag and apricots and reserve for the next batch. Optionally place the simmered wine in a different pot if you’d prefer to serve the gløgg in something different. Suspend the sugar over the wine. To do this my parents used a modified test tube rack. I have used a metal sieve suspended with metal skewers. Pour the brandy over the sugar to saturate it. Ignite, letting the sugar melt into the wine. Extinguish the flame and stir. Serve hot in punch cups with whole blanched almonds and raisins. (That’s what my mom did. I usually don’t bother with the garnish.)
The flaming of the gløgg is impressive, but if you don’t want to bother (as I usually don’t) you can just pour the sugar and brandy straight into the other wine. The taste is less smooth this way as the brandy flavor will be more prevalent. Since I am usually beveraging a crowd, I offset that effect by using 2 bottles each of the red wine and port while using one bottle of brandy and the same amount of sugar.
Leftover gløgg can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated. A mug heats in about 45 seconds in the microwave.
If you like cooking with booze check out my recipe for brandied cranberries.
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