More commonly known in Continental Europe as mulled wine, glögg - known as glogg without the diacritical1 - was the same beverage as the Central European glühwein. Known in Sweden as glödgat vin, the old type of glögg was rather low in alcohol. Gustava Björklund's recipe from around 1880 called for one bottle of red wine to be mixed with half that amount of water, three crushed cloves, a few pieces of cinnamon and some sugar. This mixture had to be boiled for a while before serving.
Continental glühwein is still made in a similar fashion. In some variations sugar is replaced by honey. Nutmeg and grated orange or lemon peel may be added as well.
Over the years the Swedish version of glögg gradually became stronger. At the same time as the alcohol content increased, more spices were added. This has resulted in present-day glögg having little in common with 19th Century glühwein.
By the end of the 19th Century, glögg had become part of the Swedish Christmas traditions, and still is. Systembolaget - a state-owned company that has a monopoly of selling wine, beer and liquor in Sweden - sells 4 million litres each Christmas. On top of that, many mix their own glögg. There is a wide variety of recipes, and below you will find one of them.
A Recipe For Glögg
- 25 g / 1 oz of stick cinnamon
- 60 cloves
- 10 g / 3½ oz of dried ginger root
- 3 full teaspoons of cardamom seeds
- dried skin of 1½ Seville oranges 2
- Half a bottle / 37 cl of vodka or schnapps
- 3 bottles of red wine
- 6 dl / 2½ cups / 19 oz of granulated sugar
- 3 full teaspoons of vanilla sugar
Break cinnamon into pieces, cut up ginger. Crush cardamom seeds in mortar. Pour 37 cl (half a bottle) of vodka or schnapps into a glass jar with lid, add the spices. Seal and let spices soak in liquid at least for 12 hours, but not more than 24 hours.
Next day, strain away spices. Add 3 bottles of red wine (cheap wine will do, the spices cover the taste), 6 dl of granulated sugar and 3 heaped teaspoons of vanilla sugar. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into bottles.
Glögg is served hot, together with raisins and sweet almonds. If you buy the red wine in half bottles, you will have several bottles suitable in size to make a very personal Christmas gift. 'Made it myself, you know, Swedish recipe...'