Brooklyn-based Swedish food and drink writer and illustrator Johanna Kindvall gives us the lowdown on how Swedes really stay cosy at Christmas with a delicious recipe for spiced Glögg.
Glögg is such a warm and welcoming drink especially when it's cold and snowy outside. Paired with some raisins and blanched almonds it's a perfect start of a classic julbord. The wine or the liquor, as in this recipe, is spiced with typical holiday flavours such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and orange zest. To add some extra drama and rich flavour, the sugar can be caramelised by lighting the spiced rum just before serving.
Serve the glögg with the (obligatory!) blanched almonds and raisins. As an extra treat, bring out some ginger cookies and try them with some Stilton or a sharp cheddar for a lovely sweet and savoury combination. You could also try them with the figs that have been soaked with the other spices in the rum. It's not traditional but a delicious treat that is well-worth trying!
A glögg can be made with either red or white wine, but if making some for Christmas I recommend to stick with red, especially a full bodied such as cabernet sauvignon or syrah. I think rum works best but you can definitely make tasty glögg with either whiskey or cognac too.
Makes 6 servings
- 5 dried figs, cut in half
- A handful of raisins
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 5 whole green cardamom pods
- 250 ml rum
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 110g brown sugar
- Blanched almonds
- soaked figs
In a bowl or pitcher, soak the figs together with the raisins, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom in the rum for at least four hours or overnight.
To remove the fruit and the spices, strain the rum through a sieve layered with a cheesecloth or tea towel. Set the figs aside to be used later. Discard the rest.
For the next step (and for your safety) you will need a saucepan with a tight lid. The lid will stop the flames leaping too high when caramelising the sugar.
Pour the wine into the saucepan, and on medium low heat, carefully heat the wine, be sure not to bring it to a boil. In the meantime, place the sugar in a stainless steel mesh strainer. When the wine starts to get hot, place the strainer over the saucepan without soaking the sugar. Pour the rum over the sugar and carefully light the alcohol steam that comes out below. Let some of the sugar drip into the wine before adding all to the wine (if you wait for all the sugar to melt the alcohol will disappear with the flames). Remove the pan from the heat and cover immediately with the lid to stop the flame. Stir the wine until sugar is dissolved.
If you don't want the hassle of caramelising the wine you can just skip this step by adding the spiced rum and sugar directly to the wine.
Serve in small mugs or heat resistant thick glasses with a few blanched almonds, raisins, and figs in each. Make sure to keep the wine warm while serving it.
Illustrations copyright 2017 by Johanna Kindvall