Every Christmas while I was growing up, my dad’s side of the family would get together and have a Norwegian family Christmas, complete with krumkake, rice pudding and listening to my grandma speak with her brothers and sisters in Norwegian. I may not be fluent in the language any time soon, but I do hope to continue celebrating my family’s Scandinavian heritage – and Christmas is the perfect time to do just that.
My sister has been making glogg (pronounced gloog) the last few years for the holiday season. Popular in Scandinavia, glogg is a hot mulled red wine. It’s often served on Christmas, but it’s the perfect drink to enjoy on any winter day by the fireplace with friends and family.
Different Scandinavian countries have their own tried and true versions and there are a myriad of glogg recipes available. The recipe below is an ode to my Norwegian roots – with a bit of my own American twist. Feel free to change it to fit your preferences by adjusting the sugar, spices, fruit or alcohol (red wine is a must, however). The only other things you need are a cold day, warm fire and great company!
How do you celebrate your family’s roots during the holidays?
Makes about 1/2 gallon
1 bottle (750 mL) red wine
1 bottle (750 mL) port
1-2 cups brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
Peel of 2 medium oranges
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
1. Pour wine and port in a pot. Add cinnamon, the seeds from the cardamom pods, cloves, orange peel (reserving some for garnish), raisins, almonds and ginger. Warm gently over low heat, being sure not to boil.
2. Mix the sugar and the brandy in a separate pan. Warm over low heat, melting the sugar and allowing it to caramelize and become slightly syrupy.
3. Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, add the sugar/brandy mixture to pot with the wine and spices.
4. Cover the pot and let the mixture mull over very low heat for 1 to 2 hours.
5. Once the glogg has mulled, strain out the spice and fruit ingredients.
6. Pour the glogg into mugs, garnish with an orange peel and enjoy!
7. Glogg can also be re-bottled and aged for a couple months. To do this, simply pour mixture into wine bottles and seal very tightly.