Every year during the holiday season I like to serve a hot beverage while my family trims the tree. This recipe for Swedish Hot Spiced Wine (Glögg) is my family’s favorite. The recipe has been adapted from a recipe I got from my Swedish teacher, Anne, a native Swede who had emigrated to the United States.
The story of how I got the recipe for Glögg goes back many years to when a member of my family married a lady from Sweden. I took Swedish lessons so that I could converse with members of the bride’s family at the wedding.
My Swedish teacher Anne shared many Swedish holiday customs such as the celebration of St. Lucia’s Day where a young Swedish girl wears a wreath of lighted candles in her hair and the tradition of placing a goat made of straw near the Christmas tree (the Yule Goat).
Our teacher made us Glögg which she served by spooning raisins and almonds into our mugs and pouring a delicious hot wine spiced with cinnamon and cardamom and fortified with vodka. She told us that the Swedes drink this hot sweet beverage on St. Lucia’s day and with their Christmas Smörgåsbord which is a buffet of Swedish delicacies.
My teacher’s recipe used cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods which were left in the wine to mull for hours so that they slowly dispersed their flavors. This adapted recipe doesn’t need to warm for hours as it uses ground cinnamon and ground cardamom (which you are likely to have in your spice cabinet).
The recipe also substitutes a gluten-free vodka that is made from naturally gluten-free potatoes instead of common vodkas that are made from gluten-containing rye or wheat.
is made from potatoes and is gluten-free
This recipe can be made with inexpensive red wine (such as Trader Joe’s ‘Charles Shaw’ red wines - commonly referred to as ‘Two Buck Chuck’), inexpensive box wines (Bota Box, Black Box), or jug wines (Gallo, Carlo Rossi). Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (Shiraz), Burgundy, and sweeter red wine blends are best. Avoid Merlot wines which are too strongly flavored for this recipe.
Swedish Hot Spiced Wine (Glögg)
This delicious hot spiced wine is guaranteed to keep you warm on even the coldest of nights and is perfect to serve while trimming the Christmas tree.
1 750-ml bottle of inexpensive red wine (substitute 3 1/4 cups of red box wine or jug wine)
1/3 cup sugar
10 cloves (whole)
1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
1/4 cup potato vodka (such as Chopin vodka)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup almonds (whole and unsalted)
Cookware and Utensils
2-quart saucepan with lid
4 ceramic or glass mugs
1. Add the wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Heat gently on medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cover the saucepan with the lid. Heat the wine to serving temperature. Do not boil.
2. While the wine is heating run the hot water faucet tap until the water is very hot. Fill the mugs with hot tap water to pre-warm them. Let the hot tap water sit in the mugs until the water begins to cool, then repeat this step to warm the mugs a second time. Leave the second rinse of hot water in the mugs until serving time.
3. When the wine has been heated to serving temperature (but not yet boiling) add the vodka to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Cover the saucepan with the lid and turn off the heat.
4. Empty the water from the pre-warmed mugs. Spoon the raisins and the almonds into the bottom of the mugs, distributing them evenly between the mugs.
5. Ladle the hot wine into the mugs and add a spoon to each mug so guests can eat the raisins and almonds when they have finished drinking the wine. Serve immediately. Advise guests to remove any cloves that may be found in their serving.
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