Glögg

Glögg is a Swedish drink for a cold winter evening (in July for instance if you’re in Australia). It is heated, spiced and sweetened wine, a bit like the German Glühwein. Below is a recipe, though maybe the measurements don’t make sense outside Sweden, and some of the ingredients may not be standard stock. But it will be nice even if it’s not exactly like the original, so it doesn’t really matter!

What to use:

    3 sticks cinnamon
    2-3 pieces dried Seville orange peel
    2-3 pieces dried ginger (not ground)
    some 10 cardamom seeds (whole)
    some 10 cloves (whole)
    1 cup (2.5dl)   water

Also:

    sugar
    1 bottle of wine (or similar amount of black currant or grape juice for a non-alcoholic alternative)

Some of these things are hard to find in some places, such as dried whole ginger (and how big is “a piece” anyway?). When in doubt, use fresh rather than powdered dry, as the powder makes it nigh well impossible to sieve/filter it all at – the whole thing just clogs up. If you can’t find dried peels of Seville orange (this has been known to happen), it is possible to substitute a smaller quantity of the thin orange part of the peel of an ordinary orange. In the end you’ll probably have substituted just about everything, but that will work too, I’ve tried it.

What to do:

  • Heat spices and water to boiling, then turn off heat and let stand overnight
  • Sieve/filter out the spices
  • Add the wine (or juice)
  • Add sugar to taste (that should be a minimum of one deciliter (=2/5 of a cup); we’re talking Swedish cooking here!). You probably have to heat it first so that the sugar dissolves, then see if you want to add some more
  • Heat. Note that alcohol evaporates at 72 degrees Celsius (or is it 78?) so you want to be a bit careful!
  • Some naughty people would spike the whole thing with a splash of vodka... (optional)

Serve hot with raisins and blanched almonds (dropped into the cups after serving). Glögg is normally served in tiny cups (the cups from your Turkish/Japanese/etc. souvenir tea set will be perfect), and some tiny spoons are useful for fishing out the raisins and almonds.

The socio-cultural context for glögg is either as a pre-dinner drink in the winter, or as a separate event, usually at about 4 or 5 pm, a bit like a cocktail party. On the side, pepparkakor is the kind of thing to nibble, but you’ll have to look for the recipe for them somewhere else!

The extract keeps very well (that’s why they used to sail all the way to Indonesia to get spices – they work as preservatives), so you can make more and keep it in a bottle, handy for whenever you fancy a glögg on a cold evening (which is probably only about four times in a season; it’s rather sweet); it will keep for at least a year.

 

Skål!


  Page created on May 26, 1999

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