Glögg (Swedish Traditional Mulled Wine)

With or without snow there’s not much that’s as heart warming as glögg (Swedish traditional mulled wine). In wintertime, around Christmas, the rich smell is so welcoming its no wonder its such a successful way to treat your guests. Last winter I had to warn my guests that even though the wine was served hot it was not low on alcohol. They didn’t believe me, so I was happy they could all walk home safely after our joyful evening together.

Like other Swedes I’m used to buying glögg already spiced at the Systembolaget, which is the one and only company that can sell liquor in Sweden. Systembolaget has an impressive selection of wine from all around the world and they have over 40 different kinds of glögg, both with and without alcohol. There is even a white glögg which is commonly served cold as an apertif at parties around Christmas. With a selection that great it’s hard to even think of making your own, unless you are a Swede like me living abroad. So I started, and today I can’t ever imagine going back. At Christmas I want my own glögg. And the glögg has to be done with some drama by caramelizing the sugar.

glögg recipe

one bottle of red wine (a decent full bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)

3 cinnamon sticks
one teaspoon whole cloves
one teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 peels of an orange
5 whole cardamom pods
one small piece of ginger, chopped
20 raisins
a couple of dried figs

for caramelizing
one cup (240 ml) rum
1/3 cups (75 ml) brown sugar

to serve with
blanched almonds

Heat up the wine but be careful, the wine should not boil. Drop all the spices into the warm wine, turn the heat off and let rest covered for at least 4 hours (best overnight).

Sieve the spices from the wine and heat it up in a saucepan. Again make sure it doesn’t boil. In the meantime prepare a stainless strainer filled with the sugar. When the wine starts to get hot, place the strainer over the saucepan. Pour the rum over the sugar and light the alcohol steam below. Let some of the sugar drip into the wine mixture before adding all to the wine (if you wait for all the sugar to melt the alcohol will disappear with the flames). Take the saucepan from the heat and cover with a lid to stop the flames. If you think the glögg is too sweet you may add some more wine or rum.

Serve the glögg in small cups together with some blanched almonds and raisins in every glass. Glögg is also great with gingerbread cookies.

Story and recipe was originally posted at EcoSalon on 21st December 2011.

23 thoughts on “Glögg (Swedish Traditional Mulled Wine)”

  1. Delishh: i recommend to use a rum that isn’t sweet. I think vodka works. However the rum (or even whiskey) gives it a much more interesting flavor. If you want less sweetness I would just reduce the sugar.

  2. I doubled the ingrediants and warmed it up put my spices in and let it sit. The only step i did not do was to pour the rum through the strainer with sugar. The flavor I have after letting it sit overnight is intense and bitter. Does not taste like glogg that I have tasted before. I also used fresh orange peels as well??

  3. Sorry to hear Justin! The flavor should be intense but not bitter. Maybe your orange peel had a too strong bitter flavor. Also, for this recipe I think you should really add some sugar.

  4. Another Christmas far, far away from home. This will being me a little closer 🙂 Weekend project, check!

  5. I am late reading this but want to try it. But don’t you need 3 hands to hold the strainer, pour the rum, and light the vapors?

  6. Megan :).
    My strainer fits the pot so no need to hold it :). But a third hand is always welcome!

  7. Your recipe is my introduction to this wonderful Scandinavian beverage and I must say, am very impressed. It went over very well at an Olympics watching party. Some techniques I used:

    Added a dozen or so blanched almonds to the Syrah with the rest of the spices.

    Used the entire peel of one Clementine orange, but first scrapped off the pith to avoid adding a bitter substance.

    Used a light rum (Cruzan) in lieu of a dark rum so no competing caramel flavors would be added.

    Warmed the rum for a minute before pouring over brown sugar; this helps the alcohol to ignite. I also used a slotted spoon in lieu of a strainer so I could stir the liquid for a moment while it flamed. Stirring ensures all the sugar is uniformly mixed and adds a bit of drama as the flames dance.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Hi Bruce,
    So happy to hear you like the recipe. And your addition of almonds sounds great. I will try that myself next time. Thanks!

  9. I would like to make this for a party of 15. Would you recommend keeping the spice to wine ratio the same? I don’t want a bitter glogg. THANKS

  10. Hi Robert, I have never had the experience of bitter glögg. But if you are worried I would be careful with the orange and the cardamom pods. But otherwise I would use the same ratio. Cheers.

  11. Hi Johanna!

    Thanks for the tip. In terms of the orange, do you know if it’s better to use candied orange? Thanks!

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