Well, hello there my fellow liquiculturists! It has been awhile. I have received a few emails, texts and in-person questions regarding my abrupt and extended hiatus, and thought it best to provide an update.
Ultimately, we had to set the holidays and a few, conflicting conditions in proper order. I have kept up on my learning and application, but through constant travel, work, finals, term papers, holiday purchasing, pallet thieving, gift design and development, wrapping, gifting, holiday parties, birthday parties, families, friends, nieces and nephews, New Years, mocking the hysteria of the Maya creation event, sickness, sickness… illness(es) (there’s been a lot of it), and Ali and my’s “Fifth Year of Stars-Crossing” Anniversary — priorities were set and time with loved ones (and for loved ones) won hands down. I’ve missed a lot of great cocktails and MxMo (twice), which carries their own level of regret. Anyone who follows me on Instagram though, knows that the last two weeks has seen a resurgence of cocktailing. A new season of cocktails!
(I’ll be returning to a regular posting schedule on Monday, February 4th)
I wasn’t actually going to post this post, due much to the fact that I actually wrote it a month ago and because, well, the holiday season has passed. In the end though, with what I had left over I’ve been using in cocktailing, so the recipe was necessary for some of the cocktails coming your way. Besides, it’s still cold outside and who says we can’t revisit it yet again during the next holiday season? Exactly…
“Glögg!” My Swedish compadre exclaimed at a photo I posted on Instagram recently asking what I was making based on the ingredients. Yes Per, old buddy, it began as my first attempt at mulled wine, but seeing how I’m an honorary Swede and my usual bemusement transports me to the Germanic/Nordic regions of the Earth; I would be remiss to not use its Scandinavian term. My first attempt at glögg, then!
The breadth of terms used to define the warmed red wine are about as exciting as the end product, itself. Glögg to the Swedish, gløgg to the Norwegeians, glögi to the Finish and Estonians, Glühwein to the Dutch and Deutschlanders (Germans), vin chaud to the French, Glintwein to the Russians, and about a dozen or more other names for all the other cultures who have had winter festivals since before the Council of Nicaea. To the English it’s known as mulled wine, or a Smoking (insert Catholic clergy title here). Smoking Bishop uses port, Archbishop uses claret, Beadle uses ginger wine, Cardinal uses Champagne or Rhine wine, and Pope uses burgundy. In short, this is a very popular, very old drink that has been ingrained in every culture from Brazil to Japan.
Because it is so common a thing, there is no one sure way to make it, which really is half the fun! For my first attempt I used a few of the more basic ingredients and mulled them all in a mid-level claret. That would make this a “Smoking Archbishop” if you’re keeping track.
Glögg av Rooney, take one
- 1 small to medium size orange (you’ll use the zest and juice)
- 1 small lemon
- 1 bottle of claret
- ½ c. demerera sugar
- 3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
- 6 cloves
- ½ tsp. whole allspice
- ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
This is a process:
- Make incisions into the lemon and stick the cloves in
- Zest the orange entirely into strips;
- Cut the orange and juice it into a large saucepan (discard the rest);
- Turn on the heat to medium and let the orange juices caramelize (don’t burn them);
- Add the wine and sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved (don’t let it boil);
- Turn the heat to low and add the lemon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla;
- Let steep on lowest possible heat for approximately 45 minutes, stirring it occasionally;
- Strain the mixture into a large vessel to serve from and ladle it into cups;
- Garnish with an orange twist or cinnamon stick.
This is ravishing stuff! Somewhere in my searching I found a recipe calling to “caramelize the sugars” of the orange and that sounded nice. I have no real reference to compare that, too, but there is a very rich flavor within the mix reminiscent of caramel, and I like it.
This is not an absolute recipe though. If you have other spices or flavors you like, especially regional ones, go ahead and throw them in and see how it works for you! The best thing about this stuff is two-fold: a) it’s great for a cold winter night, and b) it’s a serious cocktail ingredient. Now we’re talking. Skål!
Do you have any experience with glögg or are you from a country with a strong tradition of this winterfest drink? What recipes have you used? I’d love to hear how this is tasted around the world!