Get ready to host your own gløgg party
Warm up for Christmas with a cup of cheer
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American
Scandinavians are good at winter. Whether on skates, skis, or snowshoes, they know how to get outside and enjoy what the season has to offer.
They are also experts at coming in from the cold and getting cozy with candlelight, a roaring fire, and perhaps most importantly, a steaming cup of mulled wine or gløgg.
Spicy, sweet, and soul-warming, gløgg is served throughout the holiday season in Scandinavia.
Hosting a gløgg party is very common during the month of December in Scandinavia. So common, in fact, that you may need to make appearances at several parties on any given Saturday or Sunday. Perhaps this is why gløgg is best served in small cups.
Ready to host your own gløgg party? I’ve got an easy and delicious menu to get you started right here. Just add some festive music, candles, a few evergreen boughs and a handful of good friends. Skål og God Jul!
Expert tips for making and serving delicious gløgg at home
• Perhaps the most important tip of all … don’t let the gløgg come to a boil! Boiling or even simmering the gløgg will cause the alcohol to evaporate. We don’t want that! Bring the gløgg up to the point of simmering and then turn off the heat.
• Let the wine and the spices steep for several hours. The flavor of your gløgg will improve if you give the wine a chance to really take on the flavor of the warm spices.
• Add aquavit (or vodka, brandy, or rum) just before reheating and serving. Again, do not let the gløgg come to a boil. We want to preserve the potency of our mulled wine.
• Garnish each cup of gløgg with an orange or clementine slice and maybe even a cinnamon stick (reserved from the spice mixture). This is a lovely presentation for this warm, festive beverage.
• If you want to stick with tradition, serve with golden raisins and blanched slivered almonds. These “garnishes” will inevitably sink to the bottom of each cup of gløgg. Invite your guests to use a spoon to eat up the delicious almonds and raisins at the bottom of the glass once they have finished their beverage.
How do you pronounce gløgg?
Gløgg is roughly pronounced “glue-g.”
What are the origins of the word gløgg?
According to The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson, the Swedish cognate word for gløgg—glögg—comes from the Swedish word glödga, meaning to heat up. Gløgg made its way to Norway from Sweden.
Can I make gløgg in advance?
Yes. It’s best to make the recipe to the point that you strain the mixture but have not yet added any additional alcohol. Store the spiced wine covered in the fridge for up to a week. When you are ready to serve, simply add the aquavit and reheat (but do not boil).
How do I store gløgg?
Gløgg will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
I don’t have aquavit around. What other kind of alcohol can I use?
Vodka, rum, or brandy can all be used in place of the aquavit.
1 bottle dry red wine, nothing expensive but full-bodied
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2-inch piece of ginger sliced into thin rounds
10 whole cloves
10 cardamom pods crushed (include both pods and seeds)
3 cinnamon sticks
½ cup aquavit (rum, brandy, or vodka will also work)
Golden raisins, blanched almonds, and thin orange or clementine slices for serving
1. Remove the peel from the orange using a vegetable peeler and transfer peel strips to a medium saucepan. Cut orange in half and squeeze juice into the saucepan with the peel.
2. Add all remaining ingredients to the saucepan and heat until mixture just comes to a simmer. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for 2–4 hours at room temperature. Strain into a clean container. Mixture can be prepared up until this point up to a week ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. When you are ready to serve, return mixture to a saucepan. Add aquavit and a handful of golden raisins. Heat but do not boil (boiling will remove the alcohol). Serve immediately garnished with raisins, blanched almonds, and orange or clementine slices if desired.
This article originally appeared in the December 2, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.