orange-with-cloveShopping done? Presents wrapped? Snow shoveled? Not in the holiday spirit? Here is a little antidote: Christmas Glögg.

My chores aren’t done yet, so I’m not quite ready to relax, but I’m already starting to give some thought to this year’s glögg possibilities.

Now I’m no cook, and I don’t even have a family recipe for it, as most Scandinavians do, but I have found out that glögg isn’t really that hard. Last year I played around with it a little bit, and I think I’ve discovered the basic principles. Glögg is what they call “mulled wine”, and consists of spices, citrus peel, and booze heated up together.

In my undergraduate days, one professor had a Mexican crock with a cover that for parties was propped against a bed of glowing charcoal. Inside the crock was a mystery concoction with a whole orange floating in it . Stuck in the orange was a bunch of cloves. When anyone wished to imbibe, they took a dipper and scooped some of the steaming liquid (it was non-alcoholic at that point) and put it into a cup, then added some of the good professor’s expensive booze to it. This system has the advantage of keeping the alcohol from evaporating, as alcohol tends to do when heated. It is also not so dangerous, as those alcohol fumes can be a fire hazard when exposed to open flame.

So here’s what you do in your own kitchen. Get some kind of apple or berry juice–last year I found cranberry-apple on sale. Find an old orange and stick some cloves in it, then pour the juice into a stainless steel pan and put the orange ball in with it, along with a stick of cinnamon. I found a lime in the fridge, so I cut a slice off and put it in with the peel on. You can add more spices, but if you ask me, those recipe books with the dozen or ingredients and all those references to spice bags, citrus peel, raisins, cardamom, and almonds are unnecessarily intimating. Just boil up the juice with the orange ball and cinnamon stick. Then take whatever booze you like and put some in your glass with the hot concoction. I put in about a third Merlot. This is supposed to be a “mulled wine” so brandy (a grape product) would probably be appropriate, but the important thing is to drink something you like. The advantage to using wine is that if you’re like me and real lightweight with booze–I fall asleep on half a beer–you can sip this slowly and feel a little mellow without having the urge to put lampshades on your head.


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