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Saturday, December 13, 2008

GLÖGG ! A Swedish traditional Christmas drink

(from Mercy Sandberg's cookbook)

How to make:


(pronounced "glug")

a Swedish traditional Christmas drink

2 bottles of red wine
10 peeled whole cardamom seeds
10 whole cloves
1 piece fresh peeled ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)

For serving:
1 1/2 cup blanched almonds (white)
2 cups raisins

Mix everything in thick-bottomed pot. In good time, so spices can do their job.
Warm the glögg slowly. don't let it cook, just simmer, and serve it hot from small containers with holding ears.

Each person adds almonds and raisins. so small spoons ought tp be available to.



Some tips from my own research:

You can fortifying the glögg by using Port Wine as part of the wine, and adding liquors such as aquavit, cognac, brandy, or (not spicy) vodka. If you add too much sugar you can un-sweeten it by adding more wine or spirits, though spirits can be left out all together if you want a drink that won't be so strong.

Also, white heating (and according to wikipedia), "The temperature should not rise above 78.4° Celsius (173.12° Fahrenheit) in order to avoid boiling off the alcohol." Alternately, "Glögg can also be made alcohol-free by replacing the wine with juices (usually blackcurrant) or by boiling the glögg for a few minutes to evaporate the alcohol."

After making the glögg, you can store it in a bottle for a week or so, and reheat and serve. The best way to serve is to have it in one of those plug in, hot water dispensers with a spout that people use for tea or coffee at conferences.

Here's a nice picture of a table complete with glögg, ginger breads, and saffron breads!


I've always been a big fan of hot drink cocktails. A lot of people know about Hot Toddies, but there is a lot more you can do. Even good ol "whisky water" (bourbon + hot water) is good on a cold evening. Likewise, adding a splash of bourbon to a hot black tea can both lightly sweeten and spike it up for you. Here's a drink of this type I invented that's based on glögg, and in a shorter time with fewer ingredients attempts to replicate it's basic character.

Glögg (Cowboy style)

This isn't really technically glögg, but it is very similar. It's advantages are that it's quick to make. I call it Cowboy style after the way they call just throwing a water- flour mix in a pinch into soup "cowboy style", when there isn't time or energy or fat enough lying around to make a proper roux. This method of thickening soups doesn't taste quite as good (it tastes more floury) but it sort of works... Anyways...

-Take a shot of brandy in a mug. Fill it with hot water. Top off with a good dash of port wine. Throw in a few cloves (3 is good) and a dash of powdered cinamon. If you happen to have fresh ginger lying around, cut some up (small pieces or thin is best because there is more surface area for the flavor to get out quickly) and throw it in.

-Stir good, and drink. If you take longer to drink it can taste better because the cloves have more time to give off their flavor. That's another reason to use a larger, well insulated mug, because the extra volume of hot water helps keep the heat longer. I also used cheaper spirits (Christian Brothers' Brandy and Taylor Port), because you're diluting and altering the flavor anyhow so it doesn't make sense to use the good stuff.

This works because Port is a reduced wine. It was designed that way to be transported easier and when arriving at its destination water would be added to make it 'wine' again. Well people liked it how it was so it stayed as port. But when you use it this way to add to hot water you're basically diluting it into a more wine like consisantly again, and the sweetness of port makes it so you don't have to add sugar. You can also refill the same cup with the spices in it more than once to give them more life (powdered cinamon settles to the bottom), or you can just make a bunch real quick in a coffee percolator and keep it near the campfire. Just don't let it get too hot or the alcohol will be gone.

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