How the Glogg Stole Christmas: Sweden’s Recipe for Holiday Cheer

How the Glogg Stole Christmas: Sweden’s Recipe for Holiday Cheer

Scoot over cider, hot chocolate,  tea, and coffee, it's time to make room for another luscious hot beverage on the holiday drinks menu: glogg.

Don't let the name fool you. Behind that earthy, grunty sort of name is a heavenly brew enjoyed by Scandinavians around the world every Christmas. Glogg is mulled wine with a kick. Made of equal parts port wine, whiskey, and rum, it is heated slowly, lit on fire, sweetened with sugar, mulled with spices, fruit, and nuts, then served in a glass with a portion of boozy nuts and fruit to spoon up when your drink is finished.

It's exquisite, warming to body and spirit, heady with the scents of the holiday season, with just enough kick to keep the party merry and bright.

Though traditionally mulled with cinnamon and cloves, I like to change things up with a bit of nutmeg or, my favorite, star anise. The star anise gives a rich licorice flavor that goes beautifully with the sweetness of the port wine. You can also use either of Plum Deluxe's seasonal mulling spice varieties for extra depth and character.

My Swedish friends always mulled their glogg with raisins, slivered almonds, and a hint of citrus peel. It's like sipping a heady, boozy fruitcake that warms you right down to your toes. This year I decided to give my glogg an Australian-Canadian twist, and mulled it with fat macadamia nuts and tart dried cranberries. The buttery profile of the macadamias provides a lovely softness to the drink, while the cranberries add a sprightly note that pairs well with the whiskey and rum.

Simply pour the liquors into a medium sauce pan and heat them thoroughly but do not boil. Using a long-handled lighter, carefully set the liquor aflame, add the sugar, and let the flame burn for a minute or so. Cover the pan with a lid to extinguish the flames, and remove pan from heat. Remove lid and add the spices, fruit, and nuts of your choosing, then replace the lid and let the mixture sit for 45-60 minutes or until cooled.

Strain liquid into a bottle, seal and refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss the spices, but save the fruit and nuts in a sealed container in the fridge. When you are ready to serve your homemade glogg, reheat it on the stove, being careful not to let it boil. Divide the fruit and nuts between two glasses, pour over the hot liquor, and serve immediately.

Swedish Glogg

serves 2

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mulling spices
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts

In medium saucepan combine port, whiskey, and rum. Heat through but do not boil.
When liquor is hot, use long lighter to ignite it (be careful not to burn yourself), and add sugar immediately. Let liquor flame for one minute, then cover with lid to smother flame.
Remove from heat, add spices, cranberries, and macadamias; cover and let sit until cool, about 45-60 minutes.
Strain liquid and set aside. Toss spices but save cranberries and macadamias and refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, divide cranberries and macadamias between two heat-proof glasses. Heat (but do not boil) glogg and pour over fruit and nuts. Serve with a spoon.

All photos are courtesy of the author.

Krista Bjorn

Canadian born Krista Bjorn has been traveling and exploring for over 20 years and loves every crazy, embarrassing, and wonderful moment. She's lived in Russia and Portugal and now makes her home in beautiful Queensland, Australia, saving her pennies for her next trip. Her food, photography and travel blog is Rambling Tart.
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