This is a recipe for a quick mulled red wine, Scandinavian style, of course. Swedish glögg is a spicy, steaming warm wine drink perfect after a day out and chilling at the fire.
Mulled wine is a traditional drink that originated in Europe. The origins of mulled wine can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. Spices and herbs were mixed in wine to promote health. Warm wine was drunk, especially in wintertime.
The word glögg has some origin in the German language. In Germany, they make "glühwein" (which means "glowing wine" ).
Glögg in Sweden, gløgg in Norwegian and Danish, and glögi in Finnish and Estonian. What is special to Scandinavian glögg is the use of bitter orange in many recipes. Since bitter orange is hard to come by in US and ENgland, I replaced it with regular orange in this recipe.
Even mulled white wine glögg is popular, so try out that one also.
- Red wine. Choose low tannine medium-bodied wine. It can also be low-alcohol or alcohol-free.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Green cardamom
- Whole cloves
- Whole star anise
- Ginger, fresh or dried
- Orange peel
- Wash your orange (good to use organic). Peel it thinly. Wash and slice the ginger piece or peel it first. Crush your cardamom pods or open them with your fingers.
- Pour your wine into a pot with the sugar and all the spices.
- Let the mixture simmer on low heat so the sugar melts.
- Remove from heat and let the glögg stand for at least 2 hours so the flavors intensify. Then strain the drink. Reheat before serving.
When to drink glögg
Glögg is a common festivity drink throughout winter, but it is especially served during December. Glögg is a nice warming drink after a day outside, maybe skiing or hiking in the snow. Kids can enjoy this drink as alcohol-free if made in juice.
It is also common to host glögg parties. Some Weekend in December to invite friends over and serve glögg and some small snacks.
In Sweden, it is common to eat julbord, Christmas table (buffet), at some weekend before Christmas. Glögg is, of course, served as dessert with some sweet things. If you have access to IKEA, you can enjoy this tradition as a lunch there.
Northern glögg variations
All families have their variations of glögg. There are also some variations between the countries. Glögg can be enjoyed as a mulled wine variation, with some stronger spirits added, or as a version made in juice.
For example, Aquavit is often added in Sweden and Denmark, and In Finland, some Vodka. Rum, brandy, or whisky are common spirits in all countries to add to glögg. Some even like it with a splash of port wine as a flavoring.
Remember that if you add some whisky, don't use a smoky one, but some blended cheap whisky works best for glögg.
My recipe is for a simple red wine glögg, but it tastes even better is you add just a hint of some spirit to it.
What is the difference between mulled wine and glögg?
Mulled wine is made from wine. In glögg, some additional alcohol is added to give more alcohol content and taste. Glögg can be made with juice base instead of wine.
Raisins and peeled almonds are traditionally added to glögg. They are eaten with a spoon when the glögg is finished. Instead of raisins, you can add dried cranberries; they work well, also. If you serve your glögg from a big pot, you can decorate it with ingredients already found, like whole aniseeds, cinnamon sticks, lemon, or orange peel. Dried orange slices are a nice add also.
What type of red wine is best for glögg?
You can use a cheaper wine for glögg. Medium-bodied wines are typically best suited with low tannin content. Wines with fruity and berry aromas are well suited for glögg. Some examples of wines that fit are Shiraz, Malbec, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, and Beaujolais. Merlot is also commonly used, but not my personal favorite.
Even a semi-sweet wine is ok to use since sugar is added to the drink. By choosing a semi-sweet wine, you can add a bit less sugar.
How to make alcohol-free mulled wine?
Alcohol-free mulled wine is easily made from a bottle of alcohol-free red wine. Alcohol-free glögg can also be made with a juice base. You can use grape, cranberry, lingonberry, blueberry, cherry, and mixed berry juices. For a light glögg apple or pear juice is best.
What to serve with glögg?
Here are some ideas on what to serve with a steaming hot cup of glögg. Especially if you want to host a glöggparty called glöggmingel in Swedish. It is enough to choose a couple of savory things and a couple of sweet ones. In the pictures, some ideas on recipes in Scandicuisine.
Here are a few more tips
- Gingerbread cookies
- Lussebullar (saffron buns
- Cheese platter with savory cookies and jams
- Filled dates with nuts
- Small bread pieces with skagenröra (shrimp salad) (vegan recipe here)
- Small puff pastry cocktail bites
- Gingerbread cookies topped with blue cheese
- Savory pie
- Tunnbröd rolls with ham and cream cheese
Where can you buy glögg?
Alcohol-free Glögg can be bought in all supermarkets in Scandinavia. In Finland, Norway, and Sweden, regular higher percentage alcohol glögg is only sold in Alko, Systembolaget, and Vinmonopolet. -State-run alcohol shops.
My recommendation for a store-bought glögg is BLOSSA-glögg. This brand is tasty even as alcohol-free and low alcohol at 5,5%. They have a lot of taste variations but start with the regular one.
If traveling in the North in December, you should visit a Christmas market in some of the capital cities. There you can buy delicious steaming hot homemade variations of glögg. Perfect for enjoying the outdoors while shopping for wool handicrafts.
Tip: if you don't have the time to make your own glögg, you can buy some glögg concentrate from the store, add wine and reheat. -perfect to fool guests. Garnish with some cinnamon sticks and orange peel.
Storing and reheating
Store your glögg in the fridge. It keeps for about a week. Reheat in a pan, so it is hot and simmers. Do not let your glögg boil; otherwise, the alcohol evaporates.
Glögg is best made a couple of days before serving. This way the flavors intensify.
Sure, mulled red wine can be enjoyed cold. A Finnish invention is GLÖET, a spiced sparkling wine. Make your own by using a concentrated glögg drink and pouring sparkling wine on top.
Red wine glögg stores for about a week. A wine-based drink can get some acidity taste and taste a bit vinegary. Don't leave in the spices and orange peel for several days in your glögg, they can also go bad. Remember to store your glögg in the fridge.
A portion can be warmed in the microwave. Make sure to use a microwave-safe teacup. It takes about a minute to warm ½ cup of glögg to the right temperature.
Don't warm your mulled wine in a hot water boiler, it is only meant to warm water. The acid glögg can cause erosion to the copper resistor in the boiler.
Swedish mulled red wine
- 1 bottle red wine, 750 ml
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 1 orange
- 1 inch fresh ginger, (2-3cm)
- Wash your orange (good to use organic) Peel it thinly. Slice the ginger. Crush your cardamom pods or open with your fingers.
- Pour your wine in a pot together with the sugar and all the spices. Let the mixture simmer on low heat so the sugar melts.
- Remove from heat and let the glögg stand for at least 2 hours so the flavors intensify.
- Strain the drink. Reheat before serving and serve from small cups.