While researching cardamom for my post about cardamom roasted vegetables, I learned that cardamom is one of the spices that typically flavors the Scandinavian winter-time drink known as Glögg.
According to Wikipedia, Glögg is the name of mulled (heated and spiced) wine in Sweden and Iceland; it goes by other similar names in Norway, Denmark, Finland and Estonia, and it is called Gluhwein in German-speaking parts of Europe.
Historically speaking, mulled wines like Glögg have been enjoyed for centuries, particularly by folks living in cold regions of the world. Today, Swedes and other Scandinavian dwellers enjoy Glögg at festive occasions in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and it’s often served with pastries.
Now, I am not much of a drinker, but…
1. I had an almost full bottle of red wine left in the refrigerator from Thanksgiving
2. the idea of mulled wine definitely appeals to me
3. I felt like celebrating a little because my recipe for turkey pho is one of the finalists in a contest at Food52 (make sure you vote for me :)
4. how can you not want to try something with a name like glögg?
…so I came up with this version.
This Cranberry Glögg, which I adapted from this recipe, contains more juice than wine, and you are welcome to swap the proportions. You can use more wine and less juice, or no juice at all. I have some lovely apple brandy from a local winery, so I added a little as glögg recipes do sometimes contain brandy; I’ve also seen ones that contain vodka, rum or aquavit.
Note that if you don’t want a very alcoholic drink, you can boil the mixture so that some (or most/all) of the alcohol cooks off. Most recipes tell you to keep the temperature very low so this doesn’t happen, but it is up to you. If you do want it to be alcoholic but you find that you’ve heated it too much, you can always add a splash of brandy or one of the other forms of alcohol before serving.
On the flip side, if you want a completely alcohol-free version, you can make a glogg-like drink just with juice. I think it would be nice with a mixture of cranberry juice and pear or apple cider, for example. Pomegranate juice might also be great. If you are using only juice and no alcohol, you really won’t need the additional sweetener (unless you’re using unsweetened cranberry juice, which is incredibly tart on its own).
In order to really taste the spices, it’s important to let all the flavors infuse for a while. Though I didn’t use one, a crockpot might be a good way to go with this recipe; you can leave it on low for quite a while (a day or so) before serving and I think it would just get better and better.
Recipe For Cranberry Glögg
4 cups unsweetened organic cranberry juice
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup organic brown sugar or raw sugar or honey
10 cardamom seeds/pods
2 cinnamon sticks
one 1 inch piece of ginger, smashed with the side of a knive
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 orange peel (dried or fresh)-optional
7-10 dried figs, cut in half- optional
1/2 cup blanched almonds-optional
Mix all ingredients in a large pot and warm over very low heat for about an hour. Turn heat off and allow to sit at room temperature, covered, for several hours or overnight. Reheat over low heat before serving. Serve each cup with some of the dried fruit and the optional almonds.
This glogg recipe is my contribution to Holiday Food Fest; this week’s theme is “Holiday Cocktails, Mocktails and Appetizers”, and it’s hosted by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free! Make sure to check out Amy’s site for links to all the other great Holiday Food Fest posts!