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Like the other traditions I’ve been sharing on the site this month, Swedish Glogg — with its pungent, fruity, spicy smell — has always been an integral Christmas drink for my family. My parents had their own division of labor as they balanced four kids and their entertaining (my mother has always held a sit down dinner for 40 the weekend before Christmas… intimidating, I know!). Whereas my mom handled the cards, baking, and gift purchasing, my dad handled lights, some last minute gift wrapping with generous amounts of tape, and Swedish Glogg. My dad is not a recipe kind of guy. He threw in jugs of cheap red wine, cardamon, raisins, orange peel and a dose of who knows what else and it all just sort of worked out… Glogg was pretty much his secret brew and it was delicious.
My house, a bit different. My husband Marc follows recipes to the capital “T” and doesn’t leave anything up for grabs. So at my urging that he assume this responsibility, he found our family’s recipe online a few years back and has followed it precisely year after year, now venturing into a bit of personalization as they say…
That original recipe has evolved over time into Marc’s special brew. The original recipe appeared in the Chicago Tribune back in 1979 and was written by Craig Goldwyn.
Note to parents, glogg is not something to do with the kids because of the flaming brandy — unless they are a ways away.
Good luck and feel free to comment below with your questions for Marc (hope you don’t mind, honey).
Swedish Glogg Recipe (Makes about 2 gallons)
- 3 liters inexpensive dry red wine (go for cheap, bottled wine like Gallo)
- 3 liters inexpensive American port
- 2 bottles of inexpensive brandy ** can be flamed, see below **
- 12 cinnamon sticks
- 2 Tablespoons cardamom (whole) seeds
- 4 dozen whole cloves
- Peel of three oranges
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 4 cups sugar
Pour the red wine and port into a stainless steel or porcelain kettle. Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds. Warm gently, DO NOT BOIL.
Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with one bottle of brandy. Warm slowly over a low flame. You can FLAME this which makes it especially delicious by heating until very hot and lighting with a lit match. Make sure no one is afoot and nothing resides over the stove-top!!
Once the sugar and brandy have been caramelized, add to spiced wine mix, and cover. Then, leave on low heat for at least two hours — you can leave on for as long as 4-5 hours if you like and it will only get better.
I would recommend making this the day before your first holiday party, and then reheating on low two hours beforehand. The glogg will be even sweeter and more flavorful as the holiday season goes on, and you can keep this on your stove-top until it’s done!
Serve in mugs or small glass eggnog cups as soon as your guests arrive in from the outside. Your whole home will be warmed by this wonderful, historic Swedish drink.