I was never impressed with the Scandinavian mulled wine called Gløgg. But that changed when I met Lea, and my father-in-law-to-be showed me how you do the damned thing! Here’s Rasmus’ killer Gløgg recipe!
Due to our cold climate, wine hasn’t been produced in Scandinavia until very recently. So this tradition arrived in Scandinavia some time in the 16th century from further south, likely Germany or France. Or perhaps a bit of both.
Regardless if it’s the German “glühwein” or French “vin chaud”, the origin of the word Gløgg is “glödgat vin” which means “heated wine” in Swedish.
Recipies for Gløgg varies wildly, and what makes this recipe so spectacular is how deceptively smooth and balanced it is.
There are no dominating spices, and clocking it at around 16 % ABV (depending on your choice of alcohol), it flies right under the radar in terms of booziness, but the rum-rehydrated raisins adds a spectacular alcoholic burst every time you pop one in your mouth…
- 200 g raisins
- 15 cl rum, or Cognac
- 1.5 liters red wine (2 bottles)
- 0.5 liters white wine
- 20 cl Viking Blod mead, or Port wine
- 40-60 g demerara sugar (unrefined sugar)
The spice mix
- 40-50 g candied bitter orange peel (pomerans), or peel from 1/2 fresh orange
- 20 g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 5 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 vanilla pod
- Muslin bag or hop bag (optional)
- 100 g skinned almonds, roughly chopped
Choosing the right booze
Since this is a very balanced Gløgg, you have no dominating spices killing the flavor of cheap alcohol. But this is not the time to open your 2003 St Emilion and best Meursault wines either.
Just get some decently drinkable table wine, and spiced rum. If you can’t get Viking Blod mead, use a reasonably priced Port wine instead.
We used Concha y Toro (Cabernet Sauvignon), Cono Sur Bicicleta Reserva (Gewürztraminer), and Capt Morgan Spiced. If you can’t find Port wine either, use 10 cl rum extra to get to the same overall ABV.
Put the raisins and rum in a lidded container, and let the raisins rehydrate for a few days. The longer they soak, the better they become, so a week or two is just fine. Top up with booze as necessary so that the raisins are always just covered.
On the day of serving: Check your mooring or make sure your anchor is well set. You’re not going anywhere after this.
Measure up the ingredients for “The booze” in a 3 liter pot with lid. Also tip in the remaining rum that the raisins hasn’t soaked up, and set the raisins aside.
Bring up to around 65C on medium heat. Since alcohol evaporates at 78C (that’s 172F for you US people), it must not under any circumstances come to a simmer.
I try to keep it between 60 and 70C (140-160F) using a thermometer in the pot.
Meanwhile, prepare “The spice mix“. If available where you are, make sure you get actual cinnamon, and not just cassia bark.
Though they have a similar flavor, they are not at all the same; cinnamon has a superior flavor. But cassia is cheaper, so it’s being sold as “cinnamon” to get a better profit, and most people don’t even know there is a difference. Now you do 🙂
If you want to learn even more, head on over to Spruce Eats.
Peel and slice the ginger, cut the candied bitter orange into strips, slice the vanilla pod, and toss everything in a hop bag, toss the bag into the pot, slap the lid on, and let everything just sit for at least an hour.
While using a muslin or hop bag isn’t strictly necessary, I prefer it, cause it makes it very easy to remove all the spices when I think the correct spice level is reached. And as a home brewer, I always have hop bags at hand.
While you can easily skin the almonds ahead, do not wait any longer than this; as the Gløgg is steeping, place your raw almonds into boiling water, and boil for exactly one minute. Drain in a colander or strainer.
Instead of using your fingers to squeeze the almonds to loosen the skin from them, only to shoot them across the galley, ricocheting on the wall, and from there to Gods knows where…wrap them in a kitchen towel and give them a good rub all over, then pick trough the ones that hasn’t already been skinned afterwards. Chop coarsely, and set aside.
When ready to enjoy, find a few good mugs, add a spoonful raisins and almonds to each, then ladle up with the Gløgg.
Best enjoyed in good company, with a big bowl Danish Æbleskiver to snack on 🙂