One of those special things is Christmas Gløgg (pronounced glue-oo-g), a mulled wine punch you light on fire and serve to your guests. Hey, we're Vikings. We like to light things on fire. It's festive!
Celebrating with fiery drinks is less illegal than jumping in a longboat, stealing some sheep, and lighting the village on fire as a parting gift. I think this is how the Nordic countries celebrated in ye olden days. Then Santa Claus moved to Finland and put a stop to that because no one wants to be on Santa's naughty list - not even Viking marauders.
Danish Gløgg Tradition
All of the Scandinavian countries enjoy drinking this hot spiced wine punch at Christmas time but we spell it differently. We spell it Gløgg in Denmark and Norway. Sweden and Iceland spell it Glögg. Finland and Estonia spell it Glögi. And just like American meatloaf, everyone has their own special recipe for Gløgg. I typically make it with two types of alcohol and a bunch of spices. My Swedish friend Kristen's family recipe adds brandy to a slightly different mix of alcohols. Both recipes taste good and either are an excuse for us to wear our cheesy Viking helmets to a party.
Husband shows horned Viking helmets are optional when enjoying a mug of gløgg.
Danish Gløgg Hot Spiced Wine Recipe
1 bottle of aquavit
1 bottle of dry Burgundy wine
3/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom OR 10 cardamom seeds
5 whole cloves
3 orange slices OR 3 large pieces of dried orange peel
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of raisins
1 cinnamon stick OR 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (I prefer to use the stick)
1 cup sugar
Note: If you do not want to go chasing all over town for the somewhat obscure spices, you can buy gløgg spice mixes. I recommend using Grandpa Lundquist Glogg Traditional Scandinavian Spice Mix.
1. Pour the aquavit, wine, cardamom, cloves, orange, almonds, raisins, and cinnamon into a stock pot. Note: Do not use an aluminum stock pot. Aluminum will react with the alcohol and give your gløgg a metallic taste - YUCK!
2. Heat the mixture slowly over low heat. Allow the gløgg to simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes with the lid on the pot so you do not lose any of the alcohol.
3. Remove the stockpot from the heat.
4. Stir and dissolve the sugar into the hot gløgg.
5. Time to light the gløgg! Carefully light the mixture in the stockpot. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds or so (just enough for your guests to ooh and ah over the flaming punch in your kitchen but not long enough to catch your kitchen on fire.) Quickly and carefully extinguish the flame by putting the lid on the stockpot.
6. Serve up some Danish gløgg realness! Pour into an Irish coffee cup if you want to get fancy or use a regular coffee mug. Make sure you pour some of the almonds and raisins (which by now have soaked up the alcohol and should look like grapes) into the bottom of your mug too!
Don't forget to serve ebelskiver (also spelled ebelskiver and aebleskiver) (Danish pancakes) with your gløgg!
TIP: To share my Danish heritage with my young nieces, nephews, non drinking relatives, and designated drivers I buy nonalcholic Glögg concentrate to serve my guests.
I sometimes get the concentrate as a gift (thank you friends!) and keep it in my pantry. That way I have to option of drinking it as is or adding alcohol to it when Husband and I want to warm our toes with a cup or two of hot gløgg and don't want to make a party's worth.
This post is part of Mrs. Greene's Holiday Cocktail Party. Check out the recipes below and add your own!