One of the best things about the month of December is that it's the beginning of gløgg season. Gløgg is the Scandinavian version of spiced mulled wine, also known as vin chaud in France and glühwein in German. Picture Tyrolean chalets, horse-drawn sleighs, Christmas markets and lots of snow. Then picture the end of a day skiing, or after walking in the forest collecting holly and branches. Then imagine a roaring fire, food simmering and a glass of gløgg in hand. Now you might understand why every year I look forward to gløgg season.
There are many pre-made mixes for gløgg, but the best way to make it is from scratch. It's easy to do and requires an inexpensive dry red wine. When you make the gløgg, the aroma of simmering spices and wine will fill your home with winter cheer.
Makes 8-10 servings
For the garnish:
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup Cointreau or rum
1/2 cup whole almonds
For the gløgg:
1 1/2 cups Port wine
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier
1/3 cup brown sugar
zest of 2 oranges, cut in strips
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bottles dry red wine
Fresh orange slices
Prepare the garnish:
Combine the raisins and Cointreau in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours. (Raisins can be prepared up to one week in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.)
Toast the almonds in a dry skillet on the stove. Remove from heat and coarsely chop in large pieces.
Prepare the gløgg:
Combine all the ingredients except the 2 bottles of red wine in a heavy large pot with a lid, . Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until reduced to 2 cups, 12-15 minutes.
Add red wine and warm over low heat with the lid on the pot. Do not boil.
Add a spoonful each of raisins and almonds to a glass or mug. Strain gløgg into glass. Garnish with fresh orange slices.