Norwegian Glögg

A mulled wine at Christmas is a tradition in the Nordic household. Our ancester William Cornelius immigrated to Canada from Norway in the early 1900s, by way of North Dakota. He introduced the Norwegian version of mulled wine, Glögg, to his family in Saskatchewan, and the tradition came down through the family since then. I really enjoy the highly spiced flavor of this warm drink.

Internationally known animator Jacquie Lawson creates an advent calender every year for her fans. This year she focused on Nordic traditions. I recreated her version of Glögg for the family this Christmas. We all sampled some, and most agreed it was far too sweet for today’s palate.

My version below has only one-third the sugar of Jacquie’s. Also, I strained the spices from the vodka infusion before adding the vodka to the hot wine.

Serve it with ginger cookies, made with chunks of candied ginger for best effect. A glass of Glögg and one ginger cookie is lunch enough for me.

Glaedelig Jul! / Merry Christmas!

Norwegian Glögg
Serves 8

  • 1/4 cup (100 milliliters) vodka (or aquavit if you have it)
  • 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 peel from a seville orange (bitter orange)
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) caster sugar*
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 3 orange slices
  • thin orange slices, almonds and dried cranberries to garnish
  1. Pour vodka into a small jar, with a lid. Add the spices, peel, and optional cranberries. Cover and steep for a day or up to a week.
  2. Strain the vodka into a heavy bottomed saucepan and discard the spices. Add the wine, the caster sugar, and the three orange slices. Stir and heat to 175F (80C). You don’t want it to boil. I used a thermometer.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 30 minutes or longer. If you make it ahead of time and want to reheat it to serve, do so on the lowest heat and don’t let it boil.
  4. Serve with a slice of orange on the rim and a few cranberries and sliced almonds in each glass.
  5. Store any leftovers in a sterilized bottle with a lid. To sterilize, place a clean bottle in the oven for 10 minutes at 240F (180C). The glögg will last for 2 weeks in the fridge.
  6. I tried serving the leftovers diluted half and half with sparkling water on ice. I liked it!

*Note: The original recipe had 1 cup of sugar. We found the result cloying, so we reduced the sugar to a scant 1/3 cup. But if you want it sweeter, add more sugar to taste at the end, when you are reheating the glögg (after step 3).

Skål!

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