Ok, so what exactly is Swedish glogg? Well, one thing is for sure, glogg is much more than the sum of its many parts. This unique Swedish beverage most closely resembles a mulled wine. Yet, the permutations of glogg are too numerous to count. Discover the story of glogg here…
Glogg: A Short History
The first recorded evidence of glogg is in Sweden, circa 17th century. It has probably been around much longer than that. A very popular drink in Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, glogg is a big hit around the traditional holiday season of December and early January.
The term itself originates from the German word “gluwein”, which loosely translated means spiced wine. It is unique to almost any other wine beverage in that it is typically served warm. Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians enjoy a cup during the cold winter months to this day.
Like most things European, glogg ultimately became popular in the United States as well, particularly within many Swedish communities in bigger cities like Chicago and Minneapolis. The popularity of the drink has never wavered and it is still a big part of holiday celebrations.
What Is In Swedish Glogg?
Although the main ingredient is red wine, you will find as many variations to the ingredients as you might with any standard recipe. The drink can be adapted to your personal taste, but for purposes of this discussion, let’s discuss the more or less standard ingredients.
Normally, they are red wine, cinnamon sticks, cracked cardamom pods, sugar, water, and ground cloves. Sometimes raisins and blanched almonds are added to the mixture and then strained out before serving. The raisins and almonds are then served on the side as a snack or discarded.
Other types of fruit are often added or substituted. It is not unusual to see recipes calling for prunes, apricots, orange rind, or juice from oranges. We can best compare the rotating ingredients to a chili recipe. Everyone has their favorites!
How Is Swedish Glogg Made?
The process of making a batch can extend from a few short hours to overnight, depending on the “chef” and the recipe. Bottled red wine is used, typically a standard red although sometimes a burgundy or port.
The mixture is heated to warm, but never to a boil. Various ingredients can be added or removed during this process, but the most common procedure is to strain out the bulk spices and fruit before serving.
Glogg is usually served warm in a glass mug or coffee mug. Traditionalists serve ginger snap or citrus cookies on the side, along with raisins and almonds from the batch. For the most part, it is an after dinner drink because it is sweet.
As mentioned, many variations on the traditional recipes exist. White wine versions are now seen, along with a combination of wines to impart a specific taste. Some prefer sweeter versions, while others prefer a slightly dry, fruity taste.
Finally, glogg is now branching out from its reputation as a cold weather drink. It is now seen served as a summer punch of sorts, much like a wine cooler. A summer version is usually seen served in a tall glass over cracked ice and garnished with a cinnamon stick and fruit.
My Special Swedish Glogg Recipe
Aquavit (or brandy or vodka)
Burgundy or pinot noir wine
One piece of ginger
**2 shots of Swedish vodka and Anise are optional, I happen to think both add richness to the drink and add them every time I make this. I add these at Step 4.
Step 1: Soak 1/2 cup of raisins in one cup of aquavit (a Norwegian spirit made with potatoes); Brandy or vodka can be used instead. Soak for 30 minutes before Step 2.
Step 2: Put a large pot on the stove, over high heat. Add one cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar to the pot, and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Step 3: Lower the heat to medium and add your spices – two sticks of cinnamon (each broken in half); four whole cloves; six whole cardamom seeds, crushed by hand; a thinly shaved orange peel; and one small piece of ginger, peeled and cut in half. Stir again with wooden spoon. Do not allow the mix to come to a boil from this point on.
Step 4: Add the aquavit-raisin mixture, two cups of burgundy or pinot noir wine and two cups of port wine.
Step 5: Sweeten and spice to taste.
Step 6: Strain, garnish with raisins and slices of blanched almond — and serve hot off the stove.
Basic Swedish Glögg Recipe
5 whole white cardamom pods, cracked
2 whole cloves
1 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup Madeira or port
1 bottle good-quality red wine such as burgundy
Put all of the ingredients in a stainless steel pan and slowly heat.
Do not boil.
Strain and drink immediately.
For a more intense flavor, let spices steep for several hours or overnight; strain and gently reheat.