Take Your Warming Cues from the Scandinavians: Drink Glögg

Categories: In The Spirit

Lemsipmatt via Flickr.com

As we really settle into the cold months (accept it; winter is almost here), we begin to look for ways to stay warm. Break out the electric blankets and fuzzy slippers, the cups of hot chocolate, and the pots of tea -- avoiding the bitter frost should be your focus.

This year, consider trying something new, especially if you're throwing a holiday party or looking for a warm evening dram. Leave the hot toddies aside, and take a tip from our friends in Scandinavia, who are well-versed in surviving the dark, cold months: Make a batch of glögg.

What's glögg, you ask? Well, besides a word that's fun to say (the "o" is pronounced more like "oo"), glögg is a mulled wine made with fruits, spices, and, more often than not, port and brandy. Sometimes spelled as gløgg or glögi, the drink is a staple in homes around Scandinavia.

Sounds great, right? It is.

"Traditionally in Sweden we drink glögg as an aperitif during the holiday season," chef Marcus Jernmark of Aquavit told us. "We have very cold winters, and between the alcohol levels and the heat of the drink, it will warm you right up when you arrive at a home for a celebration." To his point, the name glögg comes from the term "glödgad vin," which means "glowing wine." The combination of heat and alcohol warms the body and often makes the drinker blush.

The mulled wine has a history that dates back hundreds of years, traveling from the Greeks and Romans -- who believed it had medicinal qualities -- to King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden in the 1500s and 1600s. Glögg as we know it -- strong and spicy -- showed up at the very end of the 19th century and has maintained its presence at Christmas gatherings and winter rendezvous ever since.

Lucky for us New Yorkers, there are plenty of places around the city to find a cup of glögg: Scandinavian chefs prepare their own versions, often based on family classics. Norweigan-born Morten Sohlberg of Smörgas Chef will be serving a twist on his family's glögg during the month of December. Aamanns-Copenhagen will be offering up the Danish version of the drink with red wine, port, and rum; Aquavit will share the Swedish rendition, brewed with figs, cardamom, and bourbon. Taste them all, or make them at home for yourself with the recipes provided on the next page.

Location Info

Smorgas Chef

53 Stone St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


13 Laight St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


65 E. 55th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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