I have always loved the holidays. The lights, the snow, the tree in our living room. The fun Christmas specials to watch all day every day on TV, the time off from school, and everyone being nice to each other because it’s that time of the year.
It was my grandmother’s favorite holiday too. She loved Christmas Eve, especially. The night of Christmas Eve we would have a Swedish smorgasbord, and she and my mother cooked all the weird Swedish food that I didn’t eat (I settled for meatballs). I remember the last year she was alive we had dinner in the common room of her apartment building, and my cousins were there with us and we ate Swedish meatballs and potatoes and korv (this weird Swedish sausage that I don’t believe I indulged in that day).
Anyway, ever since my grandmother passed away in 2008 Christmas has been very special to me. We still eat Swedish meatballs and potatoes on Christmas Eve and these past few years I’ve started making Swedish Christmas Wine, or Glogg.
There’s a lot of different ways to make Glogg, and I kind of have my own version. Traditionally, the wine would probably be mulled with vodka, but I’m not a huge vodka person so I like to amp up the spice by using spiced rum instead. Also, according to my mother’s Swedish cookbook you add grain alcohol and should light it on fire after you add the sugar. I am not all about fire hazards in the kitchen and I’m not drinking grain alcohol.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my recipe (roughly) here with you.
Swedish Glogg Recipe (approx. 4 hours)
3 liters red wine (I used Port but you can use whatever you want)
1 cup spiced rum
2 cups water/juice
1 cup sugar
10-15 whole cloves
10-15 whole cardamom pods
10-15 whole allspice pods
2 inches fresh ginger, cut into coins
2 star anise
1 orange peel
1 tsp powdered nutmeg (fresh would be better, but I only had powdered)
3 cinnamon sticks
20-30 almonds, blanched
1 cup raisins (or other fruit that you like — I added a few cranberries this year because I had them on hand)
- Place all of the spices except for the cinnamon sticks into cheesecloth (or a coffee filter, as long as it is strong enough to hold together) and tie with a string.
- Place the spice bundle, orange peels, cinnamon sticks, almonds, and raisins into the pot.
- Pour the entire bottle of wine over the spices and fruit. Turn the stove on a low flame.
- Add the rum and juice/water (any juice you have on hand should work, I used cranberry). Stir ingredients together and cook on low heat. If it starts to boil, turn the heat down immediately.
- When the pot is warm, add the cup of sugar and stir.
- Cook for 3-4 hours on low heat, being careful to ensure that it doesn’t reach a boil. After you turn off the heat you can also cover the pot with a lid and let it sit for several hours to stew longer.
- Serve warm with a few almonds in the cup!
For the almonds — if you don’t know how to blanch them, it’s really simple. Just boil a few cups of water and add the almonds. Let them boil for a few minutes and then drain the hot water off and fill the pot with cold tap water. Drain off the cold water and then the almonds should come right out of their skins (you’ll have to press on them).
I kind of make this recipe up new every year based on what spices, juice, and alcohol I have available to me. A great place to get these whole spices (which can be hard to find) online is Mountain Rose Herbs.
A cup of Glogg is great for cold winter nights — it warms you up right away! And every time I drink one I think of my Mormor.
Thanks for stopping by!