Swedish Sun... Mon.. Thursday?: The Glögg

Is it really Thursday?! Forgive me it's the holidays and I can barely figure out the time of day let alone the day of the week. I'm not the only one right? Speaking of the holidays, the instant I was introduced to this Scandinavian holiday tradition, I knew it would become a staple back home.
Glögg! (Pronounced glooog). 

I am now convinced there is nothing tastier than a cup of warm glogg (ie: mulled wine with spices), on a cold winters day. In Stockholm an alcohol free version is given away on the streets. What a treat to warm your frosty fingers and noses! The best thing, there is no one-way to make glögg. Aside from the staples: wine, cinnamon, cardamom, almonds, raisons, orange peels, and sugar, glögg allows you the freedom to don your chef hat and concoct a creative version perfectly fit to your own taste. I have quizzed Swedes and scoured recipes: some add brandy, others vodka or aquavit, and if you're my moma, diluting with water is key. Interestingly, in the 1890's glögg became very popular throughout northern European nations, used as a "health potion" to cure various winter related ailments.

Since returning home I have been experimenting with glögg recipes, trying to find that perfect taste. After accidentally straining the first batch straight down the kitchen drain, (cue jet lag tears of exhaustion), a cringe worthy vodka batch that surely puts hair on your chest, and a few other concoctions involving ginger ale, I have found my favorite version! If you have a cheap bottle of wine kicking around your liquor cupboard, I assure you, it is up for the glogg challenge!

Glögg Basics:
  • 1 ltr inexpensive dry red wine
  • 50ml inexpensive brandy
  • 8 cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds - Most recipes call for cardamom seed pods. If you can find them, use about 10. Lack of selection at the Yorkton grocery store had me substituting with dried cardamom - avoid at all costs! It is just not the same.
  • 15-20 whole cloves
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together over low heat. Do not let the concoction come to a boil. Let simmer for 45 minutes. If your house starts smelling like Christmas and you are anxious to dive in, strain it, adding the almonds and raisins back into the mugs, and serve! Other varieties include letting the wine mull for 4-5 hours, or even overnight, it is all up to you! If you're an aquavit or port fan, feel free to experiment adding different things to the mix.

In this subarctic Saskatchewan winter, glögg is quickly becoming a post-cross country ski tradition... can you blame us?

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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