Glöggi – Hot Winter Wine

Glöggi – Hot Wine – Mulled wine, there are many names this hardy, warm, winter drink goes by. I knew what mulled wine was, but it was not a traditional winter drink that many people from Ohio were drinking. In fact, I don’t think I had ever seen it served at any local pub or restaurant before, I only had seen it online or from some food network channel show.

When I moved to Finland in 2015, this delightful winter drink was really brought to life and it is now not a proper winter without it! Glöggi as it is called in Finnish, is a true Christmas drink. Slightly sweet with notes of cinnamon and clove. You can find it at almost any bar, restaurant or cafe you go in Helsinki.  And, if you want to make it at home there are many options for this too. You can buy glöggi syrup or juice that is pre-made that you mix with wine. You can find spice bags that you simmer with wine, alcohol and sugar to make your own home brew. Or you can find ready made, bottled glöggi with the alcohol and spices already done for you. Needless to say, there is no shortage of glöggi during December, and you will need it to stay warm here!  

One interesting additive to the glöggi in Finland is almonds and raisins. Anywhere you get glöggi in Finland will be sure to be served with almonds and raisins in the glass.

The Finnish people are remarkably good at keeping tradition. Some traditions are simple, like pea soup always on a Thursday (that’s another story, but if you speak to Finn just ask), or Glöggi being served in December. It is the little traditions that make Finland feel more and more like home every year. And, it is these types of simple traditions that I hope to continue in my own home.

Since you probably won’t find all of the pre-made syrup, juices or spice bags needed to make you own mulled wine, this is my version from scratch.

Ingredients:
1 bottle of Red wine (I prefer Malbec)
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Vodka (rum or whisky works too)
Peel from one orange (whole)
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 cloves or 2 star anise – these have completely different tastes and depending what you have on hand you can pick one or both. Don’t go crazy with the clove though, unless you know you love the taste!

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, over medium-low heat combine all of the ingredients, except the vodka.
  2. Stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. Be sure your heat is low, you do not want to cook the wine. You just want to warm it up and combine the flavors. If you have time to do this ahead, turn off the heat and let the wine, spices and sugar rest for 2 hours. This will help to infuse the wine fully.
  3. With the heat still low, add the booze. Personally, I like the addition of vodka, but almost any booze you have will work just fine. It is just to give it a little bit of a kick. Serve warm.

Garnish:
½ cup raisins
½ cup peeled almonds

After the glöggi is prepared, ladle it into a traditional glöggi glass (a clear mug with metal handle) or a regular mug will do. Spoon a few raisins and almonds into the glass and serve with a spoon. The raisins add a touch of sweetness and become plumped up in the wine, and the almonds add a nice crunch to the end of the drink.

Don’t forget to invite some friends to share!

 2015 Thanksgiving I spent in Finland, but of course had to make a full Thanksgiving dinner. Glöggi was also on the menu that evening.

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