Scandinavian Mulled Wine

Gløgg, a hot mulled wine known throughout Scandinavia and Germany as part of the seasonal atmosphere of Christmas is imbedded in my memories as far back as I can remember. First through the scent from this magical drink, later from the taste as well. However, since moving to the United States in 1993 I've slowly drifted away from the traditions of my childhood and youth, and it wasn't until I met my wife that Gløgg came back on the radar for me.

We met in 2007 and I knew pretty soon that I wanted to marry her. She wasn't as enthusiastic as I, and I realized it was going to take something special to win her heart. The opportunity came when she, in one of our conversations shared with me that she had spent a year volunteering in an orphanage in Mexico with some people from Germany who made this hot wine drink with spices. This was something that was a dear memory for her and I suddenly saw an opportunity to get to know her better. I challenged a fellow Dane here in New York to a Gløgg brewing contest, he happily accepted knowing that in his family's possession was a recipe that goes all the way back to the Vikings, at least!. He and his wife offered to host this epic battle of the spices and Sarita was invited. I didn't have a secret recipe in my possession but much was at stake so I buried myself in the study the of making of this magic elixir. 

Traditionally Gløgg is made with cardamom, cloves, ginger and cinnamon boiled out in water. Sugar is added and the spice and sugar mix is then added to red wine that has been warmed to just below boiling temperature. Sometimes a cup of Port wine is added as well.  It's served in mugs with blanched and chopped almonds and raisins.

I was pretty clear I did not want water near my concoction so I added the spices to a bottle of vodka and let it steep for a couple of weeks. I also figured I would add some other spices as well to . . . well, spice things up!

I don't remember who's Gløgg won but Sarita and I are now married and I chose to think my Gløgg had something to do with it and we've made it every year since!

My Gløgg Recipe


The Spice 

Spices in Vodka

The Spice

In a bottle of vodka add:

  • 1⁄2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 20 cloves
  • 1 tsk. cardamom seeds
  • 10 whole pepper corns
  • 1 tsk allspice
  • 5 star anis
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 9 whole dark roast coffee beans
  • Peel from an orange

The Sweet

I make a Bourbon sirup for the sweetness.

Very slowly heat a cup of raw sugar in half a cup of Bourbon. Stir it until all the sugar has been dissolved in the whiskey be careful not to have it boil!

The Raisins

Put as many raisins as you can in a large mason jar and add as much dark rum as you can, you can never have too many rum raisins and they last for a long time. (Unless you use them)

The Wines

Use any dry red wine, don't spend too much but also don't go for the cheapest stuff you can find. 

Also buy a bottle of Tawny Port.

Putting It All Together

In a large pot:

  • Add one bottle of red wine
  • Add one cup of the port
  • Add two shots of the spice mix
  • Add two shots of the Bourbon sirup
  • Add one cup of the rum raisins
  • Add one cup of blanched chopped almonds
  • Optional add some lemon slices

Heat it all up, MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T BOIL!!!

How to Serve

Serve it hot in a mug. Get the almonds and raisins up in that cup and make sure there's a spoon in the cup. Part of the experience it munching on the almonds and raisins.

Put your feet up by the fireplace and don't go driving.

Stephan Kammerer